GSB passes resolution to support camera installation in Campustown


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The Government of the Student Body passed a resolution to support installing security cameras in Campustown.

Charlie O'Brien

The Government of the Student Body passed a resolution to support the addition of lighting and security cameras in the Campustown area. The planned idea for the cameras is to place them on top of the clock tower with a 360-degree view of the Campustown area.

According to the plan, the cameras would not be used for 24-hour surveillance, but as a source of reference for incidents that may occur in the Campustown area.

The idea to improve lighting in Campustown was met with full support by members of the Government of the Student Body and the people it had interviewed, but the idea for cameras was met with many mixed feelings.

“I talked to about 10 to 15 students or groups of students in person in the week before the resolution,” said Sean Morrissey, off-campus senator and senior in environmental science. “Their feedback included everything from a strong no to a strong yes.”

Trevor Brown, the GSB representative for Campustown, said, “In the short time frame we had for this resolution, I was able to ask 40 to 50 students either passively or directly on what they thought of the idea of putting cameras in Campustown. The majority of those I talked to were not in favor of the proposal, however there were some who supported the cause.”

As the opinions of the students varied greatly, they seemed to be on par with those of the GSB senators. Some senators expressed feelings that the idea of cameras would increase safety among visitors to the Campustown area, while other senators, such as Spencer Hughes, had a different view about the effect of cameras on student safety.

“I’m concerned that they may foster a false sense of security and potentially do more harm than good,”said Hughes, College of Liberal Arts and Science senator and vice speaker of the senate.

One other problem that bothered the senators in some way or another was the question of how this would affect people’s privacy.

“Although I can personally see the benefits one would hope to get out of a system such as this, I do not see the benefits outweighing the cost and potential for abuse with such surveillance capabilities,” Brown said.

Many other senators agreed with Brown and felt there was no clear indication that the cameras would not be monitored in the future.

Morrissey countered the idea of invasion of privacy.

“If we have a problem with our behavior being on record, then we should not be acting in such behaviors,” he said.

The resolution GSB drew up was not a direct act on its part that gave the group the power to decide whether or not to install cameras in Campustown. In simple terms, this resolution was just a decision by GSB to inform the City Council of Ames that it supported the idea of the addition of security cameras and lighting.

“Even if GSB did not endorse the cameras, they could still be put in Campustown,” said Aaron Brown, Interfraternity Council senator and sophomore in electrical engineering.