Security Cameras on Campus: Installing Cameras in Residence Halls is a Violation of Privacy

January 27, 2011 Opinion

Having cameras installed in the dorm hallways is not an old idea here at Rollins; it has been talked about for several years already. But why has their been no action? The answer is simple: Not only is it unnecessary, but to some students, the thought of having cameras is uncomfortable and an invasion of privacy. It is obvious that drinking is prevalent on campus. After all, it is college. However, Campus Security and Res Life do a fine job of keeping things under control. “It’s not like it’s easy to get away with partying in the dorm. I always hear or see kids getting written up,” said Willie Marx ’14. Rollins residence halls house an easily manageable number of students for security. “Cameras can be helpful at a large school, but in a place with under 2,000 students, it seems pointless,” said Jack Murray ’14. “At a school with so few people, it is not hard to keep track of what’s going on inside the dorms.” Stealing is another obvious reason for installing video cameras, but simply locking a door can stop that. “I’m not really worried about people robbing my room,” Said Chris Atkin ’14. “I never lock my door, and I’ve never had an incident.” The general feeling of staying in the residents halls at Rollins is not a scary, unsafe one.

The threat of having one’s things stolen is minimal, and alcohol incidents seem to be handled well enough without the presence of video cameras. The money spent on these video cameras could be used for things that are actually needed, like renovations to McKean.

Students are not the only ones who disagree with the use of cameras. The use of cameras can also be a way to discourage students from reporting incidents. “I don’t think that’s appropriate to put cameras in the hallways,” said Director of Campus Security Ken Miller. “I think it’s a scapegoat for some students; instead of reporting incidents they think, ‘oh, the camera will do it.’” Miller is not the only one who thinks this way. “I’m worried because students will use the camera as a crutch,” said Leon Hayner, director of Residential Life. “We’re all responsible for monitoring and keeping up with the vandalism in our community. I think cameras will just limit people’s sense of responsibility. They think, ‘I don’t have to report this, because the camera will do it for me.’”

Res Life and security are in agreement over the use of cameras. They both think that having cameras is just too much. “I think it’s too big of a leap from having no cameras on campus to having them put in buildings. It’s a dramatic difference to have them inside the building,” Said Miller. “However, I am a proponent for having cameras outside the residence halls.” Cameras outside residence halls will not only maintain student privacy, but will also be helpful in seeing who enters at what time, and in case an incident occurs, it would be easier to find out who was in the building. However, as students we have a responsibility to maintain our campus. “If the goal is to have no vandalism, I don’t think cameras are the answer, increasing personal and social responsibility is the answer,” said Hayner.

 

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