Peking University seeks balance between campus access and discipline amid entry requirements debate
Published: Dec 22, 2023 02:13 AM
Peking University Photos: VCG

Peking University Photos: VCG

The recent topics surrounding the entry requirements for Peking University have  sparked a widespread discussion on social media, while the university is currently working on finding a balance between opening the campus to the public and upholding campus discipline, according to media reports on Thursday. 

The discussion was initiated by the articles written by Li Zhi, an associate professor at Peking University. In his articles, he wrote about his experience that how he chose not to swipe his card or complete his face verification to the security guards, instead opting to bypass them and enter the campus directly. 

Peking University started identity verification in 2008, and the university was fully accessible to the public before 2008, and anyone could enter without any restrictions, the Beijing Daily reported on Thursday, citing one article written by the professor. 

From 2019 onwards, the university has installed turnstiles and facial recognition devices at the entrance gates of the university, requiring facial recognition or identity verification before entry, said the report.
The university said that it has launched a variety of services to ensure access for people within or outside the campus. For instance, the relevant departments have developed specific personnel appointment systems to facilitate off-campus individuals entering into the campus through multiple channels. The university will also strengthen the training of security guards on duty, in order to improve the efficiency of off-campus personnel access, according to the report.

The university will also further investigate the needs of outside visitors coming to the campus  during the New Year's Day and winter vacation, making appropriate and flexible adjustments in terms of the number of visitors and the way of entry, based on the specific situation on campus, according to the report. 

Li also on Wednesday appraised the university’s move that individuals will not be required take facial verification during access. 
The articles by Li again led the topic related to whether university campus should be opened to the public or not, with some netizens agreeing that university should allow the public to access campus facilities such as libraries, sports facilities, and cultural events and experience the campus culture. But some expressed their concerns over the safety risks if universities are open to unfettered public access.

“Universities are meant to spread knowledge and culture, and provide people with the opportunity to be influenced by knowledge. Restricting access to universities would greatly diminish their influence and ability to spread knowledge,” one netizen wrote.

Multiple universities across the country are open for visits after visitors complete a designated appointment process. For instance, Sun Yat-sen University has opened its reservation channel for visits by the public on weekends and national holidays since September 27. In South China Normal University, visitors outside from the campus can submit applications online. 

Some universities further provide simplified process to allow more people outside the university to experience the atmosphere and influence of university culture. Starting from May, Tongji University opened itself to the public, and individuals from outside the university can register and enter the campus by presenting their identification cards. 

Since December 11, Beijing Foreign Studies University has allowed individuals off-campus to complete face verification with their identification cards before entering campus, not requiring a scheduled appointment.