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Security vs. privacy is a tough call

Cameras in some places make sense but there’s room to argue details

Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 05:08

Cameras are being installed on campus for the safety and protection of the students and their property. These cameras are being installed primarily in the student and in other public places relevant to student life.

Security is important on campus and needs to be improved. There are high-crime areas including parking lots and certain buildings where expensive equipment belonging to students is kept. It is in UT’s best interest to protect these areas because they’re either currently or potentially high crime areas. 

Still, the thornier question remains, is increasing security in dorms where students spend their private time appropriate? On this, there was disagreement.

The majority of the editorial staff agreed that safety should trump privacy in this situation. Students are living on government property and the University of Toledo has every right to install cameras and patrol its property with the exception of spaces that are obviously meant to be private — bathrooms, bedrooms and suite common rooms. Beyond having a right to do so, UT has a responsibility to do so. The residence halls are, perhaps, the most important places on campus for crime prevention whether it’s theft or something more serious.

These measures will improve the way that residence life is run. As a resident assistant, one only knows about a situation because one happens to be there at the time. However, things often happen outside of their watchful eyes. Students are paying, in part, to ensure that they and their property are secure. Thus, the cameras installed in the dorms are called for.

However, there were also a number of editors who felt that privacy should trump safety in this situation. These are students’ homes, which students pay for, and nobody likes to be watched in their own home. It may seem like a minute inconvenience for students not living in the residence halls, but their story may be different if cameras were being installed in their own homes. Students shouldn’t have to worry about being watched while they work out, do laundry or study for their exams.

There are far more dangerous areas outside of the residence halls. Many things RAs are looking out for which these cameras are supposedly going to improve upon are simple camaraderie and pranks between residents. It seems like cars are broken into on a regular basis and there are more vulnerable parts of UT’s campus.

If UT is really going to increase their student centeredness, this is an area which needs attention. 

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