Safety for students is as important as ever, and Geneva is looking to improve the current safety standards on campus.
Geneva is initiating a campus-wide network upgrade program that includes security cameras as well as the ability to monitor those cameras.
According to Scott Barnes, the associate vice president of information services, the entire program consists of an upgraded core and wireless networks on which the cameras will ride.
“By the end of the fiscal year in June, we should have about 43 security cameras in place,” said Barnes.
The upgrades have a budget of $1 million over the course of five years, but the changes have already begun and will continue. According to Barnes, the number of cameras will not stop at 43; more will be added over time.
The cameras will be placed in various parking lots, residence hall entrances and other public places. Cameras will not be placed in private areas, such as dorm hallways or bathrooms. The overall goal is to monitor the people that are coming and going through public spaces.
The security cameras will have extremely limited access that is only available to security officers, Associate Vice President of Operations Tim Baird and Barnes, who will be able to give special authorization.
“Most of the cyber security measures are already in place,” said Barnes. “It is the physical security piece that is in the process of being implemented. There are currently no permanently installed cameras on campus.”
The changes were brought about when Barnes was hired 18 months ago. After meeting with administration, the Emergency Preparedness team and the head of security, Dennis Damazo, it was decided that measures were needed in order to make campus not only safer day-to-day, but also better when responding to issues that arise.
“We only have one security guard on campus at any given time,” said Barnes. “That’s a little tough. So if that security guard gets a call that says ‘Hey, there’s someone walking around outside [apartment buildings] Young and Arms that looks kind of suspicious’, well by the time they get there that person may be gone. If they can get access to a camera, then they can get view of what was going on, or if they were in their car or somewhere else they can go back and view the tape.”
The changes mean that security will have a larger presence of campus and a greater ability to act on reports. “If you tell me today something that happened two days ago, I’m taking your word for it. But if you tell me the same thing once the cameras are in place, we will be able to go back and look, and have a much greater chance of being able to help.”
The Emergency Preparedness team is in charge of outlining the responses to potential emergency situations, such as the campus losing access to water or in the event of a fire in the Science and Engineering building, for example. The team is currently working on improving protocol in the event of an active gunman on campus.
(Published December 14, 2015 in The Cabinet, Geneva’s online student newspaper)