Cameras have been installed in the residence halls. Photo courtesy of csupueblo.edu.
Cameras have been installed in the residence halls at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Crestone, Culebra and Greenhorn Halls were subject to the installation, while cameras in Belmont Residence Hall are currently in the process of being put up.
“Cameras help us with the number of people that we have at the front desk,” said Marie Humphrey, dean of Students and Residential Life.
According to Humphrey, the front desk does not have coverage at all times. She said the cameras that have been installed so far have helped with incidences that occur in the residence halls.
“It leads us directly to where the issues are,” she said.
“Our colleagues in the sheriff’s office, when reviewing that information, find it very helpful.”
Regardless of the purpose of the cameras, students at the university aren’t too fond of them.
Humphrey said students questioned the use of the cameras in the residence halls.
“I explained to them that it’s for their safety,” Humphrey said. “Most colleges all have cameras.”
Resident assistant Josh Smith said there was an initial shock when student residents first noticed the cameras.
Resident assistants are students who are hired by the university to live on a floor community within the residence halls. As an RA, Smith has been able to see student reactions firsthand.
Smith said that after the purpose of the cameras was explained, residents began to have a better understanding.
“Since they contribute to keeping the residents safe, I believe they are a helpful tool we can utilize in housing,” Smith said.
Regardless of security, it is easy to gain access to residence halls and crimes still have the potential to happen on college campuses.
“It is better to be safe and know that you can do something about it instead of having it happen and you can’t do anything,” Humphrey said. “You’re only as safe as you want to be. I can only do so much.”
In a 10-year study conducted by the Durango Herald about safety on Colorado college campuses, CSU-Pueblo scored well. The study measured safety based on seven criteria, which include drugs, forced sex, weapons possession, aggravated assault, burglary, arson and liquor violations.
The study also included Fort Lewis, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Northern Colorado, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Colorado State University-Fort Collins, Western State Colorado University, Colorado School of Mines, Adams State College and Mesa State College.
New residential policies that were introduced this year at CSU-Pueblo have been criticized by students, especially amid CSU-Pueblo’s proficient safety scores.
Regardless of being one of the safest college campuses in Colorado, Humphrey states that it is just a list of statistics compared to others. The statistics do not show incidents that have occurred or could occur.
“It would be concerning for me as a director and dean of students if a student was hurt, I knew I could have done something about it but I didn’t because I was too afraid to institute a policy,” Humphrey said.
In previous years at the residence halls, there have been damages made by guests of students residing in the halls. Because of these damages, students who lived in the halls where the incidence happened were charged. With the new camera installations, it is now easier to detect who was responsible for these occurrences.
“I know I have taken some risks this year on some of the changes I’ve made but I know I am on the right track because everything that we have instituted has come back to us in a way that has been very supportive,” Humphrey said.
“Initially students are not agreeing but when something happens to you, believe me you will agree.”
Humphrey said the use of the university swipe card lets Residential Life know who is in the building.
As for guests who enter the building, the use of the sign-in policy helps let them know who is in the building for safety purposes and in case of an emergency. Next year, Humphrey said she is thinking of adding a color-coding aspect to student IDs.
“It will be easier to identify who is residential or not,” Humphrey said. In order for this to happen, Humphrey said that her team will have to partner up with Auxiliary Services and believes that it will be helpful for future purposes.
“At the end of the day, I have to be able to sleep at night because I am responsible for everybody in these halls and I don’t take that too lightly,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey is responsible for all students and parents entrust them into the univeristy’s care. Therefore, it is her job to ensure safety and security for students. She also said that she is looking out for the best interests of students and that the new installation of cameras will help ensure that.
“People don’t think that we have crime and things don’t happen, but when we do, we want to proactive and not reactive to any situation,” she said.