Privacy versus protection: Students react to surveillance on campus

Photo Illustration by Victoria Zegler/Photo Editor The university has shown its commitment to security cameras by installing more than 500 cameras in the last eight years. At a price of $500 per camera, the current camera inventory plus support system to date has cost roughly $500,000, as previously reported by Central Michigan Life. Cameras are scattered across campus in locations such as the Bovee University Center, Park Library, parking lots and academic buildings.

Some Central Michigan University students still have some reservations about privacy and protection, despite increased safety efforts.

Many of these concerns involve privacy, cost, monitoring and the overall purpose of the cameras.

Saint Joseph junior Caitlin Larson said she did not know how many cameras were on campus or where they were located.

"Students should be aware of the protective services that (CMU) is doing to take precaution," Larson said. "I don't see why they haven't told students about the cameras they have added."

Larson said she doesn't feel like her privacy is being invaded since it is a public campus, but having some idea of where the cameras are would make her feel safer.

Grand Rapids sophomore Grace Wismer said someone needs to be monitoring the cameras more regularly.

"At some rate, I feel like it would be a waste to pay someone to sit in front of the camera all day," Wismer said. "But, really, there is no price on safety. I think safety is a priority, and I want my money to go toward safety over new materialistic things on our campus that aren't even relevant."

Wismer said cameras are important, but with the crime outbreak of the past several months, she wishes she would see some positive results and crimes in and around campus lessened.

Sophomore Megan Rhoa said the cameras have missed many things that occur daily on campus.

"My friend got her bike stolen, and the camera wasn't where it could be seen," the Saint Joseph native said. "I feel the cameras are preventive to crimes, but sometimes they aren't the only thing we need, considering what has happened this semester."

Senior Meagan Mooney said last year she and her friends went out around campus before exam week to let loose and have some harmless, but against campus policy, fun.

The Waterford native said they never got caught for their escapades, so she believes the surveillance cameras are ineffective overall.

"I feel like they are kind of like a 'Big Brother' scare tactic in a sense," Mooney said. "It's like someone is watching over you, but it's not taken very seriously. If the harmless and meaningless things that happen everyday on campus aren't being punished because no one is watching, I don't know how they expect to catch the big things."

Caledonia sophomore Michael Birkmeier said the cameras are obsolete, and CMU needs to take other measures to create a safer environment.

"So much money has been put into the cameras, and I honestly don't feel any more protected," Birkmeier said. "They don't cover enough ground, and if no one monitors them, a crime committed in two minutes is reacted to a few weeks later when they go back and look at the recording, which is sort of a waste."

To offer an alternative to the situation, Auburn sophomore Amanda Buchmann said she would like to see an increased police or security presence on campus.

"I'd feel a lot safer if they were actually there to catch the act, because cameras can't really make me feel safe during my walk from my night classes, and I don't even know where they are to see them, which is a bit of an invasion of privacy," the  junior said.

Lake Orion sophomore Devin Young said he understands the general idea and logic behind the cameras.

"Unfortunately, crimes are inevitable, and it's a public campus where student flow is happening, so they need to record what is going on," Young said. "If I was the victim of a crime, I would want to be able to look back on the date and time to eventually put an end to the situation"


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