Public university installs eye scanners on campus to ward off ‘bad guys’

Administrators at a public university in South Carolina announced earlier this month it will become one of the first schools in the world to equip its campus buildings with eye scanners.

On Monday, Winthrop University’s (WU) Associate Vice President for Information Technology James Hammond told Campus Reform the school is installing the iris scanners, which cost roughly $2,000 a piece, on buildings throughout the 445-acre campus in order to keep out “bad guys.”

Hammond said the eye scanners, called “EagleEye stations,” will be implemented in several phases and adding that the university has already scanned the eyes of over 1600 students.

WATCH: Promotional video shows how technology will work at Winthrop University

The first buildings to feature the new technology will be Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center and the Macfeat Early Childhood Laboratory School, he said.

Hammond did note that students may opt out of having their eyes scanned, but warned doing so would likely inconvenience them as they attempted to move about campus.

“If you decline in the future there may be some places where you have to use an alternative method of access which might inconvenience you,” Hammond said.

According to Hammond, the school never saves any images of the students’ eyes, but instead instantly identifies 250 unique features of their eye and converts it into digital data.

Hammond claimed security badges and ID cards do not offer adequate protection for the school and that the eye scanners were the best alternative.

“Iris scanners are very accurate and cannot be forged with today’s technology,” he said. “ID cards are less effective because they can be passed to other users or stolen or even forged.”

In state tuition at Winthrop University reportedly costs $13,266 and out of state tuition is $24,716.

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Oliver Darcy
Oliver Darcy | Former Reporter

Oliver Darcy is the former editor of digital media for Campus Reform, where he was tasked with reporting on waste, fraud, and abuse taking place on our nation's college campuses. Additionally, he was responsible for editing the website’s video content and graphic design. Prior to joining the Leadership Institute, Oliver founded, a video driven website dedicated to exposing the inherent failures found at the core of liberal philosophies. He is currently Oliver holds his bachelors of arts degree in political science, with an emphasis in both International Relations and American Politics, from the University of California at Merced.

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