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Holy Cross Announces Plans for Security Cameras on Campus

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 20:02

   Holy Cross officials have recently confirmed that a number of cameras will be installed on campus in the coming months. Although these cameras are intended to bolster security, Robert Hart, Chief Director of Public Safety, announced at a recent SGA meeting that they should not be considered “surveillance” devices. He stated that the cameras will not be used to consistently monitor students; rather, they will be utilized on a case-by-case basis when troubling incidents occur. Public safety will have access to the recordings, but they will only examine them when they feel it is warranted. The cameras will also tape over themselves after a certain span of time, so the material they capture will not be retained indefinitely. This information is sure to come as a relief to Holy Cross students, some of whom are understandably anxious about this new measure.

   It should be noted that there are already some cameras on campus, including in Hogan, the computer rooms, and by a loading dock.  More importantly, students should note that cameras will not be installed in any “private” areas in the residence halls, including hallways, study rooms, or common areas. Instead, they will be placed in public access areas such as dorm entrances and near freshmen field. These high-traffic places will be monitored solely for safety reasons, particularly so suspicious individuals or concerning activity can be observed. However, as Chief Hart has consistently maintained, these cameras will not be watched constantly; they will only be referred to when doing so is deemed necessary.

   Changes in security tend to make people uneasy, particularly when technological advances are proposed. However, the student response to this measure has been largely positive. In fact, several students have expressed astonishment that the dorms are not already safeguarded by security devices. Abby Rasweiler, ‘17 feels “surprised that they don’t have cameras installed already,” while Caroline Randall, ’17 thinks “They’re a good thing, since they can be used just in case, for emergencies.” This does not mean that concerns about the cameras should be dismissed, but Public Safety and other campus officials aim to address any concerns that students may have throughout the year. Furthermore, they intend to communicate updates to the student body throughout this process. It should be noted that not all the details about the project can be provided at this time, as the college has not yet chosen a contractor to complete this undertaking. There are currently two in the running; one will be selected in the coming weeks.

   Chief Hart has also disclosed that the college will soon develop a policy regarding the cameras, and it will be drawn primarily from legal standards and the rules used at other colleges. Several student representatives inquired about the strength of the cameras, and Chief Hart verified that footage from the cameras will legibly display license plates. Many specifics about the plan are still unclear. Despite this ambiguity, it is evident that Holy Cross is committed to keeping the student body informed. Students should definitely stay updated on the project and voice any concerns that they have; however, everybody should rest assured that this development is not a seismic shift, but rather a minor alteration that could make a great difference in maintaining security.

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