By Jenna Ballek
Vandalism in residence halls has returned to pre-pandemic levels, prompting the office of Housing, Residence Life and Dining to update the camera equipment they have in place.
There have been numerous cases of vandalism in the residence halls this semester with on-campus housing at 80 percent capacity, according to Desiree Reasoner, Executive Director of Housing, Residence Life and Dining. During the peak of the pandemic, that level was as low as 55 percent.
As a result, Housing and Residence Life has responded with a new project to update the camera equipment currently in place.
“We are doing some progressive replacing of things,” Reasoner said. “Public safety and [Housing] are working together, we already have the groundwork laid for the initial face of a project that we’re [doing] over the summer that will be updated and in place [for] the fall.”
The details of the project are not clear right now, but will involve updating and replacing out-of-date cameras and equipment outside and in the residence halls; Reasoner said the software that is in place is outdated and will be replaced over the summer for the Fall 2022 semester.
“We are looking to make advances in the technology and in the availability of cameras that we currently have, and still try to make the students feel like they have some semblance of privacy,” said Reasoner.
One student said he thought such an update made sense.
“It’s understandable that [the cameras] are being replaced, assuming they are at the end of their lifespan,” said Matt Greiner, KU freshman and resident.
There are currently cameras in place outside of the residence buildings and a few cameras inside, like in Golden Bear Village South. However, the idea of placing cameras inside all the buildings has been ruled out as a possible solution to the vandalism problem.
“It’s a privacy thing,” Reasoner said. “A lot of it has to do with the residents’ perception of having cameras where they live … making students feel like they’re not under surveillance in their homes.”