Cameras proposed for apartments
Dorm vandalism, particularly in the Alfond Apartments, has become a topic of conversation between the Student Government Association (SGA) and the administration in recent months.
In the fall semester, apartment residents accrued approximately $185 each in fees related to dorm vandalism. This semester, the cost of damage has already reached approximately $70.
Last semester, student leaders and administrators began discussing the possibility of installing surveillance cameras in the Alfond Apartments in response to excessive dorm damage.
Alfond Apartments dorm president Claire Grady ’12 introduced the subject at an SGA meeting last November. Grady recently polled Alfond residents via an online survey to gauge what the interest was in obtaining surveillance cameras. According to Grady, about 70 residents who responded thus far, and “the majority [of those students] says yes” to cameras.
Grady remarked that the cameras would not transmit a monitored live feed, and would only be consulted in response to a reported incident. A major concern surrounding any form of surveillance is privacy. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jim Terhune said, “I have a real concern, generically, with cameras in student residences.” Terhune continued that, “Alfond is different [from typical residence halls]” due to the fact that living environments are “contained” to individual apartments outfitted with their own common areas and bathrooms.
Both Grady and Terhune stated that if cameras were installed, they would go in hallways, not individual apartments.
Past vandalism targets have included exit signs and fire extinguishers. Destroying devices like these pose not only a financial issue, but a safety issue. “[Cameras] are for our safety,” said Grady. “It will really reduce how much we have to pay.”
Some residents, including Martin Tengler ’12, expressed concern that, “the cameras would then become targets of destruction.” Grady mentioned the possibility of installing dome-shaped cameras, which would be more difficult to remove.
Dorm damage “happens every week,” according to Tengler, and non-residents are often to blame.
In light of these facts, Terhune commented that surveillance cameras alone are not the only solution to the problem.
“Could these cameras help? Possibly,” he said. He expressed that a more fundamental question is, “Are people ready to hold their peers accountable?” He speculates that dorm damage will likely continue until “acts of destruction become socially unacceptable.”
The future of surveillance cameras is currently uncertain, but for now conversations between students and administrators are ongoing.