From the Editor: Cameras serve as watchful eyes

Having the feeling that someone is constantly watching can give you that creepy-horror-film vibe. However, the surveillance cameras at Rider provide nothing but watchful protection for the campus.
Many people do not know that Rider has now installed 100 security cameras throughout the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses. The cameras, which are located both inside and outside, monitor what’s going on around both campuses.
It’s great that we have these cameras to make sure that we are safe while walking around campus at night, or to make sure that property is not stolen or vandalized, but as of right now, there is no written policy about the cameras and surveillance. That fact could make students a little uneasy. However, Director of Public Safety Vickie Weaver reports that Public Safety officers are the only people who watch the cameras, and the recordings are only used when something needs to be investigated.
A policy is necessary to inform the students about the cameras and what exactly they’re used for, so no one is pointing fingers if there’s ever an incident. Rider — like Rowan, Monmouth and Montclair — doesn’t have a policy about the cameras implemented for students to read and see.
Colleges such as Seton Hall, Rutgers and Ramapo, briefly mention cameras in a bigger security policy, while other schools like Drexel and Stockton already have a policy, especially for security cameras for students to read.
The policy for Stockton College states, “The objective of closed circuit television monitoring by campus police personnel is to deter crime and to assist the department in protecting the safety and property of the college and its community.”
The policy not only explains what the cameras are for, but also reassures students that they’re only used for safety reasons and to protect the students and faculty on campus.
Rider needs to make public a policy similar to this one, so students know what the purpose of all of these cameras is and what is done with all of the footage that is recorded.
“I kind of knew there were cameras around campus, even without the policy,” said senior elementary education major Brianne McGlone. “It doesn’t really bother me. I suppose it’s mostly for security purposes and Public Safety can review them if they get a report of something happening and need tape evidence. I feel like we are pretty much always on camera anyway, so I don’t think much of it.”
It’s typical for people of our generation to be used to being filmed and constantly on camera since we’ve grown up with it. Therefore, we really think nothing of it when we walk past a security camera or see a sign advertising that recording is in progress.
It shouldn’t matter if you’re being recorded or not if you’re not doing anything wrong. If you’re that concerned about why you’re being recorded, it seems a tiny bit suspicious.
Of course, there’s the fear of being caught doing something silly and embarrassing. Even though the Public Safety staff are the only ones who get to view the tapes, you still don’t want to be caught picking your nose or smelling your underarms giving them a good laugh in their office.
Rider should state publicly in a policy what exactly all of the footage is used for and where it is stored. By knowing where the information and videos are going, that fear could easily be eliminated.
The lack of policy at the moment is something that can easily be fixed. Once the policy is implemented, students would know exactly why Rider is doing what it’s doing: keeping us all safe.
Not only are the cameras there to ensure campus safety, but they’re also a precaution when it comes to suspicious and criminal activity. The ones that are located in the Department of Communication and Journalism’s computer labs could catch someone stealing an electronic device, which has happened in the lab before.
Whether or not you even notice the cameras watching you park your car or walking to class, just remember that these cameras serve as a watchful eye over the campus, preventing theft and protecting our students.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.

Printed in the 10/9/13 edition.


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