In the Students’ Assocation Senate meeting on Jan. 23, SA Senator and junior Shiv Rambarran proposed installing cameras in Goergen Athletic Center, Rush Rhees Library study areas and Hillside Market.
Rambarran proposed the idea after a series of thefts occurred in recent months in the gym locker room and the library, but no action has been taken on the proposal yet.
Director of Security Walter Mauldin stated that in some cases cameras have the potential to be helpful, but that Security needs to assess each area of campus in turn before making a decision to ensure their “smart application” on campus.
Mauldin said that before commenting on the need for cameras in the areas that Rambarran mentioned, he would need to meet with the concerned parties and assess what specifically needs to be done and what is best for the area.
Mauldin said that UR currently has 275 cameras that send film directly back to Security, in addition to 150 cameras that locally watch the areas and that Security can pull up in the event that something happens in the specific location that the camera views.
There are currently cameras in Gleason Library that Mauldin said have been useful if something is taken that has a specific physical description.
Mauldin also said that there are two areas of priority on campus in terms of installing cameras: so-called points of intersection and passageways at the UR campus and wide stretches of campus, like parking lots.
Still, Mauldin believes that because patterns of student use change frequently, it is necessary to assess areas individually and determine whether the need is for emergency phones or more lighting, rather than cameras, for example.
Rambarran in part sees the need because he is personally acquainted with two of the students who were recently robbed in the locker room, he said.
“They lost laptops, a bag, wallet, and car keys,” he said.
The occurrence of such thievery is disconcerting to students, but many students are wary of the rush to install more cameras.
Sophomore Elizabeth Bradley, who works in the gym, said that she does not believe cameras are a necessary step to take.
“In the gym all the thefts were in the locker rooms, so cameras wouldn’t be very helpful,” she said. “In the library I’m not sure they would make too much of a difference.”
The library is a place for students to study foremost, but students also head to the library to socialize.
“The installation of cameras in the library would damper the social scene,” senior Leah Barish said.
On the flip side, installing cameras might help alleviate student thefts and create a more carefree environment.
“If I know there is constant surveillance then I won’t have to walk and look for someone to watch my stuff if I need something, let’s say from Starbucks,” freshman Mo Ahmed said.
Ahmed believes that cameras should be installed.
“Putting cameras in the library or the gym does not violate anyone’s rights,” he said. “So I am sure, for the sake of accountability and safety, they should go ahead and install them.”
Rambarran suggested that Security install these cameras “as both proactive deterrents and retroactive securities that ultimately safeguard the secure culture that we have on the River Campus.”
“As a UR student, I for one take pride in the general culture of our campus so that we can leave our things somewhere for a moment or ask someone to watch them and feel secure,” he continued.
Sophomore Hillary Figler said she thinks that the cameras would be completely unnecessary.
“It’s a waste of money,” she said. “Next year they’ll raise everyone’s tuition by a hundred dollars so they can put cameras everywhere.”
Figler, like many students, does not think that installing cameras will solve any problems.
“Have a friend watch your stuff if you have to go somewhere,” she advised.
Duncan is a member of the class of 2014.