November 9, 2023 | NEWS | By Taylor Lynch
Living on a college campus can entail a lack of privacy. At Colorado College, residents of one of the “Big Three” residence halls must become accustomed to shared spaces and toweled walks on the way to the shower.
These awkward but typical moments are routine for first-year students in the dormitories. But a new proposed surveillance policy could soon place these moments under the observation of security cameras.
A new proposed surveillance policy is being met with controversy among Colorado College students. The policy was recommended by a coalition of the Information & Technology office, Campus Facilities and Campus Safety according to the Director of Campus Safety and Emergency Management Cathy Buckley.
Buckley says that the policy is the product of the committee’s 18-month endeavor, which has investigated door locks, door access and security cameras on campus. If implemented, the new policy would redefine the scope of current surveillance collection and retention practices at CC.
“CC has had cameras on campus for years. What we have not had is a policy governing the cameras,” Buckley said.
The initiative’s report first describes the policy, then lays out its implementation process through key points: camera installation and location, operation, information access, information retention and procedures. Below are the major takeaways from each section:
According to the report, “the goal of our surveillance camera system is to deter crime and increase safety for CC community members and property.” The policy claims to enhance surveillance of public spaces while protecting privacy.
The report also claims to ensure that the policy will protect privacy within the CC community, stating that footage will not encompass private living spaces, offices or classrooms. All cameras will be visible unless an exception is approved by the director of Campus Safety and the chief operating officer.
Authorized members of Campus Safety will have access to the camera footage; however, the footage will not be under constant watch. Although CC has the ability to monitor surveillance at all times, the report stresses that the cameras will be predominantly used for “high-risk areas or events,” as well as investigations into misconduct or policy violations.
The images collected by the security cameras will be considered confidential property of Colorado College, accessible only by authorized personnel and used specifically to support campus safety.
Footage has a minimum 30-day retention period. All outside legal requests for video retention must be approved by the director of Campus Safety and the chief operating officer.
Under the policy, Campus Safety would have autonomy over the surveillance camera monitoring, headed by the director of Campus Safety and the chief operating officer. New camera requests would require approval from the director of Campus Safety.
Campus Safety and ITS will collectively select, maintain and review a surveillance system. Campus Safety will include Human Resources, Student Affairs, the Dean of the Faculty, facilities Services and ITS in policy updates.
The Colorado College Surveillance Camera Policy was last revised in Sept. 2023 and is currently under review. The online public comment period is open until Nov. 22, 2023.
Comments submitted from the community will be considered by President Richardson, before the policy is ultimately voted on for approval by The President’s Cabinet. This policy does not need approval from the Board of Trustees.
The college invited the community to share thoughts about the proposed CC Surveillance Camera Policy at this link by Nov. 22.