EUGENE, OR -- Students at the University of Oregon’s rec center are giving its staff members a hand—literally. The facility recently installed biometric machines that scan students’ hands to grant them admission to the center.

The school cited several reasons for the installations, including better control over nonstudents using university facilities and a need to upgrade existing card-scanning software that was outdated.

The school’s old card-scanning system used obsolete software and no new software was available, Tiffany Lundy, membership services director at the rec center, told student reporters.

The biometric machines don’t record students’ fingerprints or handprints, which potentially could be used in police investigations. Instead, the system records the measurements of a student’s hand. To enter the rec center, students put one hand on the machine’s glass scanning surface, then enter their student ID number.

Students who are uncomfortable with the hand scans will be able to check in at the center’s front desk without getting a hand scan, Lundy said.

The new biometric system also will prevent nonstudents from entering the rec center and student sporting events held there, said Dennis Munroe, director of physical education and recreation.

“There’s a lot of behavior issues,” he told the Oregon Daily Emerald. “Fights on the basketball court, those kinds of things. It often comes out that it is one of the individuals who has gained entry illegally.”

With the old system, students swiped their ID cards across scanners mounted to turnstiles, but some students loaned their cards to people not currently enrolled at the university, he said.

Five of the new biometric machines were scheduled to be operational by the second week of the school’s fall term.