Security cameras require ASG vote

ASG tests its influence in administrative actions

Allegheny Student Government (ASG) passed a motion to create an ad-hoc committee to discuss security cameras on campus. The ad-hoc committee was formed to ratify and potentially pass a resolution that requires ASG to have a two-thirds majority vote in favor of a security camera placed anywhere on campus besides parking lots.

While ASG has discussed the topic in depth in the past several years, no decision for or against having security cameras on campus has been reached.

“ASG this year is trying to actually get student voice heard and recognized and by actually having a say in what administration does,” said ASG senator Andrew Nunn, ’16. “A large part of that is Larry [Hailsham] and Autumn [Vogel] attending the [Administrative Executive Committee] and getting the administration on board with what we have to say. This is essentially a step in that direction of if we can get this approved, then that shows that ASG can actually have power and have a say in what goes on, on this campus.”

Lee Scandinaro, ’15, a member of the ad-hoc committee, said the committee is not discussing whether or not cameras should be on campus, more so that ASG should have a final decision on where the cameras are located.

“What we decided to do was put in a formal document that said if [Safety and Security] wanted to put in cameras anywhere else other than parking lots, they would have to formally come to ASG and ASG would formally have to say, ‘yes, we want more cameras,’” Scandinaro said.

Scandinaro echoed Nunn’s comment about testing the power ASG has and how this resolution could have lasting effects for ASG.

“We’re saying ‘this is what has to happen,’ and if Safety and Security says ‘we don’t care,’ then that’s saying what power does senate actually have?” Scandinaro said.

ASG this year is trying to actually get student voice heard and recognized and by actually having a say in what administration does.

— Andrew Nunn

Currently, there are two cameras already set up in parking lots on campus. One is placed in the Ravine parking lot and the other on Highland looking down at the Phi Kappa Psi parking lot, according to Jeffrey Schneider, director of safety and security.

“We did a survey benchmarking other colleges and universities similar to our size and there was only one that didn’t have cameras,” Schneider said. “That was not that they didn’t want them, they didn’t have the resources at that time to do it. But it’s just an extra safety and security tool that really is beneficial to the college community not only solving crimes but sometimes preventing crimes.”

The cameras are not currently functional because of parts waiting to be delivered, but they are expected to be up and running later this semester.

“To a certain extent I don’t have a problem with that. I just don’t want [ASG] to tell us if we’re having a problem area that we want to address that we can’t do it,” Schneider said. “Any public area, to me, is really fair game when you’re talking about safety and security for the campus community. Now, inside buildings, that’s a different story.”

According to Schneider, food services have had cameras in place and have been successfully identifying students who vandalize or steal property.

“I think it’s good to share that information and have to have dialogues,” Schneider said. “That’s why we did this. It’s been a long path for us, really, to get to this point.”

This conversation of security cameras on campus, of student privacy versus student safety, is amidst a larger national conversation. Recently the Obama administration has launched “It’s On Us,” a campaign against sexual assaults on college campuses around the country. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness and educate students on how to prevent sexual assaults.

For Nunn, this is just the first step in a long process of getting student voices recognized.

“ASG is trying to get student voice recognized,” said Nunn. “There really isn’t that level of respect towards ASG…I would rather have my friends and everyone on campus get things done that they feel needs to be done, so this is just a way to start that. Because [the committee] got passed, so far, that’s a good sign. There’s just a lot more that can happen from here.”