WEB EXCLUSIVE! Security cards monitor entry to buildings, violate privacy?

WEB EXCLUSIVE! Security cards monitor entry to buildings, violate privacy?

by Andrea McNamara

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re every move is being monitored?

In some ways, they are.

Simpson’s security office holds a computer that reveals who is entering the various buildings throughout campus and at what time they enter.

According to Chris Frerichs, Director of Security, this is not a violation of privacy. Campus security does not constantly monitor the screen and has no intentions of keeping track of individual students.

The only reason a student has just cause for concern is if their card has been lost. If someone else has been using their card and causing trouble in various buildings then the owner of the card may be suspected in causing the trouble.

“You have to be accountable and know where your card is at,” said Frerichs. The security office is willing to work with students and contrary to popular belief, campus security is not out to get everyone. According to Frerichs, if your card has been lost it’s a good idea to report it to the security office and get a temporary card until the lost card is found.

If a deactivated card is swiped at any particular door it shows up on the security screen and lets security officers know that someone has taken, or found, a card that was reported as lost.

“The only people who are probably concerned about personal privacy are the ones causing the problems,” said Frerichs.

The only time an individual will be monitored is if they are suspected, by just cause, of causing some trouble on campus.

“We’ve also had parents call in,” said Frerichs. “Sometimes parents don’t hear from their kid for a few days and want to know what’s going on. We can look through the history within the computer and determine whether the student has been on campus for the past few days.”

The Indianola Police Department (IPD) does not have access to these records, but according to Frerichs, if there is sound reason to hand over some of these records, then there is nothing to stop them. If some sort of vandalism took place between the hours of 2 and 3 a.m. in Barker hall (for instance), then the campus security will most likely look up the people who entered the building between those hours.

If the entry record shows signs of “fishy business” going on between 2 and 3 then their records will probably be turned over the IPD for further investigation.

“The benefits of our campus security system outweigh the costs,” said Amber Dickey, a junior and hall manager at Picken Residence Hall. “If somebody feels violated in some way, then they would probably feel more violated if their safety was compensated for personal privacy.”