CU has new eyes on campus

Jeff Hazard, left, and Devin Van Bockler walk past a camera in the lobby of Audet House. Photo by Amanda Brault

Castleton University recently installed cameras within residence halls to provide greater security to students regarding access control to buildings.

“Since I arrived, I wanted them,” said Keith Molinari, director of Castleton’s Public Safety Department since April of 2014.

There was a real lack of security in the dorms before the cameras were added, Molinari said.

“We had just access control with swipe cards. Which is not reliable to me, not sufficiently reliable for the level of security we can give to our students today,” he said.

Molinari said we have a “Castleton Way” here on campus, meaning we are friendly to one another and hold the door for each other. But he said, do students always know who they’re letting in?

“Access control, security starts there,” Molinari said.

Knowing who is going into and out of buildings provides greater access control and leads to better security for the students, Molinari said.

Students asked about the issue seem to agree.

“It is good because they can keep an eye on the people walking in and out and keep us safer,” said Jacob Glickenhaus a sophomore at Castleton.

But other students raised other concerns.

“Where did this money come from for this addition of cameras?” questioned sophomore Matt Chornyei.

Molinari said each year a certain amount of money is put into a project fund called, Dorm Renovations. Money in the fund is used to paint, polish and improve the dorms and this is where the money came from, he said.

“There’s so many uses for investigative purposes,” Molinari said of the cameras.

He said a perfect example was the transient on campus on Super Bowl Sunday. If he accessed any building, Public Safety would have him on camera and could relay that information to the police, he said.

“I have not had to use my cameras yet,” said Molinari with a firm shake of the head. “I will be, I will, I guarantee” said Molinari with a laugh.

But he also wants to assure students that nobody is watching the cameras at all times. He said he doesn’t have the resources to do that but, “if I could, I wouldn’t.”

“I don’t really see any issue with them as long as anytime I’d be on camera it is clearly labeled,” sophomore Evan Bloch.

Molinari said he expected a little resistance to the cameras by students fearing a spying mentality by Public Safety, but that hasn’t happened.

“Every bit has been positive,” he said.

In fact, Molinari has had several people say that they are happy with these new cameras and feel safer in the residence halls.

Cora Churchill, an area coordinator, was also expecting more questions when it came to the new cameras but thinks they are a really good thing for the dorms.

“I find them really useful,” Churchill said.

She said the cameras provide around-the-clock surveillance even when her CA’s are not on duty, and this can be helpful with anything that happens after hours, such as damage to the common areas. The cameras allow them to pinpoint charges against people instead of charging the whole building when the person who actually did it was not actually a resident.

“Makes everyone more accountable to do the right thing,” said Noah Woodwell, a CA in Hoff Hall.

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