An advisory note to students – and potential criminals – entering East Quad and South Quad residence halls: You are being videotaped.

Construction crews successfully finished installing security cameras at all entrances to South Quad and East Quad over winter break. The spherical black cameras seen above entrances and main floor hallways are functional and are able to record movements of those entering the residence halls 24 hours a day.

Camera installation started last semester in South Quad. After suffering a few glitches, including the discovery that more powerful computers were needed to handle the video equipment’s software, camera installation proceeded in East Quad and is moving on to West Quad, where it is expected to be completed by month’s end.

All residence halls will eventually have the new security equipment, and installation is expected to go smoothly.

“There have been no significant problems in the two completed installations of cameras,” said Alan Levy, spokesman for University Housing.

“Any installation involving technical equipment and related software goes through an initial period of working the systems to make sure everything works properly,” he added.

Levy said the cameras will not be monitored and will only be used for investigative and deterrent purposes only. Videotapes will be kept for a period of time and then recycled and taped over, he said.

They may not be on Candid Camera, but some students said they are still uncomfortable with their residence hall’s new technology, fearing the new cameras could infringe on their privacy and wondering what the University’s next step will be if crime in the residence halls continues.

Others said they don’t feel the cameras are necessary at all, adding they felt safe in the residence halls before the equipment was installed.

“It seems unnecessary to me. I don’t feel any threat at all living here, from the inside or outside,” RC sophomore and East Quad resident Sarah Bostwick said. “I don’t see how the camera would be that effective in catching somebody.”

“What would I do in the doorway that is bad?” added LSA sophomore Shirley Ma, also an East Quad resident.

Despite the concerns, other students still defended the University’s decision to add the cameras.

“It hasn’t really affected me either way, but I’ve heard other people express discontent with them. They think it’s an invasion of privacy, but overall, I think it’s for the best,” said Engineering sophomore Cameron Hosner, an East Quad resident. “If you are doing something wrong, I guess you should be worried.”

Hosner said he believes the University needed to step in after several incidents that occurred last year began threatening the safety of students living on campus.

Among those incidents was an armed home invasion and assault where two men, one with a gun, entered a female student’s room. The men covered the student’s mouth and pulled out a roll of duct tape before the student was able to scream and cause the men to flee.

“If the University didn’t do anything about it, I think they would be held responsible for further incidents like this happening,” Hosner added.

Security cameras aren’t the only additions students in East Quad must adapt to this semester. New automatic door locks will be added to student rooms starting Monday.

Students will need keys and an entry card – as well as a numerical code – to enter their rooms. After the locks are installed on student’s doors, the doors will automatically lock upon closing.

The locks are already present on residence hall bathroom doors, but students will still only need their normal keys to enter. Levy said it’s unknown when room entry cards will be required as well.

While students said they believe the locks will prove to be successful crime stoppers, many expressed their disdain for the additional worries the locks will bring, such as lockouts.

“That’s probably going to take some getting used to. It’s just something we’ll have to deal with,” Hosner said.

Some students said it should not be the University’s responsibility to make students lock their doors.

“If I want to shut it, I’ll shut it. If I want to leave it open, I’ll leave it open and take responsibility for what happens,” Bostwick said, adding that she hopes the University will revise its lockout and lost key policies.

Currently, students are given three free lockouts, in which a spare key is given to them for a short period of time while they retrieve their keys. After the third lockout, students have to pay $5.

Students said they believed the fee should be waived, since lockouts will become much more frequent.

“Why does it cost me five dollars? It does not inconvenience them in the least,” Bostwick said.

A task force is currently debating the University’s current M-Card and key replacement policies to determine whether they will still be appropriate, Levy said.

He added that the University is working to combat students’ concerns, including religious obligations that require students not to use any electronic equipment on certain holidays.

All student rooms in East Quad are scheduled to have the new locks by next month, Levy said. The locks will eventually be in place in every residence hall, but it has not been determined which one will receive them next.

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