Cameras installed to deter lab thefts

by Aaron Kiel
Arts & Entertainment Editor

President Stephen Morgan and Steve Grey, chief financial officer, approved the installation of a high resolution security surveillance camera system in the Founder’s Hall computer labs because of recent thefts of microchips, said Dr. Jay Jones, associate professor of biology and biochemistry.

“It is a real shame that we have to do this,” said Dr. Jones. “For those who have been sensitized by Big Brother, it is not a step that is easily taken. But our objective is to provide students with a fertile environment to grow in and access.

“A significant theft would mean limited access even during daytime hours. Video surveillance is the only viable option,” he said.

Currently, the computer labs are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-10 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The labs will have 24-hour accessibility after the time lapse cameras, which can record up to seven days of video, are installed.

The computer lab was not the only location to experience theft over the summer. The Student Center also fell victim to crime, but there are no plans to install cameras, said Dr. Loretta Rahmani, associate dean of student services and Robert Rodriguez, chief of security and transportation.

Stolen from the Student Center were a photocopying machine and a television and VCR belonging to the Athletic Department, which was in the men’s locker room. Keys to the new student mailboxes were also missing, but according to Melissa Jaunal, coordinator of student activities, all the keys may not have been sent by the company.

Rodriguez said it is possible someone left open one of the Student Center doors, allowing a person or persons into the facility to steal the items.

“The Student Center has eight doors and a lot of times people prop them open and there are people in and out of them all the time,” he said.

The photocopying machine, the most costly of the items, was stolen during an afternoon in August.

“What’s strange about it, is the Student Center was full of football players, coaches, and construction workers who were working on the mailboxes, and still it [the photocopying machine] walked out, which is strange,” said Rodriguez.

Also, student yearbooks were vandalized.

“During the summer some notes were left at the Student Center desk and an old yearbook had comments written in it,” said Jaunal.

Rodriguez said that the losses are less costly as compared to the price of a new surveillance system.

“You’re talking a few thousand dollars as opposed to a lot of thousands of dollars,” said Rodriguez.

He added that other areas on campus are of higher priority in terms of installing security cameras, including Woody Hall, the computer labs and the Stu-Han residence halls.

“There is a high value in Woody Hall in terms of monies received, even though they ship it out every day, in terms of records, student’s records; That’s probably the most highly critical place on campus. If that burned down or if something happened to that area it would be devastating to the University,” said Rodriguez.

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