Cameras on Campus: Is Big Brother Watching?

The decision to install ten new security surveillance cameras around campus has been met by students and faculty with some ambivalence, as well as a little bit of confusion.

 

Campus Security has been working with the Dean’s Office for the past year in an attempt to improve security efforts. The Dean of Student Life, Ms. Liscinsky, who has been working in tandem with the Campus Security office, says that the amped up effort is due to a combination of recent incidents and the need to catch up with other schools in regards to safety precautions.

 

This isn’t to say Loomis doesn’t already have security measures in place. Already there are cameras in the gym, RAC, pool, and other areas of campus, and these ten additional cameras are meant to cover some new areas, like Grubbs Quad, Rockefeller Quad and the construction site of Cutler Hall, that weren’t monitored previously.

 

Dean Liscinsky called the additions a “basic safety measure,” particularly after an incident that occurred last summer when a man walked into Founders Hall and began threatening people. After the building was evacuated and police were called to the scene, school authorities reached the conclusion that there seemed to be a lack of surveillance coverage. The Director of Campus Security, Christopher Lamy, has the ability to monitor all of the cameras, but doesn’t do so on a 24/7 basis. Instead, two roving security officers act as the primary resource when it comes to campus safety, as they are on patrol 24/7.

 

Since many of the new cameras placed around the school are visible and out in the open, unlike a lot of the cameras that have been indoors and in use for quite some time, students have begun to vocalize their reactions to the new security measures. Some students don’t see the need. In reference to the two new cameras in the day student parking lot, Lars Schuster ’16 says, “I feel like my personal space has been compromised, because for a lot of day students the lot is like our own room here on campus.”

 

Others, like Abby Marmer ’16, understand the need for more surveillance cameras, but still voiced some concerns. “I understand their importance, and the importance of student safety as a whole, but I do feel that they violate privacy to a certain extent.”

 

Natty Dorfman ’16 applauded the decision by the school to add more cameras. “I love them,” he said. “They keep me honest.”
Though privacy concerns are very real, Dean Liscinsky reassured that the camera’s primary purpose is that of safety. “In the six years that I’ve been here we’ve only had to go back and check footage three, maybe four times” she said. “We’ve primarily used them during incidents of theft, and we wouldn’t hesitate to go back and check footage if someone were to get hurt or something like that.”