New cameras in residence are meant to protect students by surveilling them.
Queen’s Housing and Ancillary services installed 75 additional cameras in the Victoria Hall residence building over the summer. The new camera installations bring the total number of residence cameras in Victoria Hall to 83, as part of rising camera usage within residence buildings since 2020. The rise is intended to ensure the safety and protection of students.
The installation of these cameras is a crucial part of Queen’s University’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and safe environment, according to the Executive Director (Housing & Ancillary Services) Leah Wales’ statement to The Journal.
“Since 2020, the number of cameras in our residences has been increased from 36 to 175. It is part of a long-term planning process that began with a sector scan to learn from the experiences at peer institutions,” Wales said.
The additional cameras installed in the Victoria Hall building have coverage of the building’s wings, and all entrances and exits to the building, including elevators and The Lazy Scholar.
Housing & Ancillary Services (H&A) finalized the plan in the spring of 2022 after evaluating past damages and student conduct in consultation with the Queen’s Records Management and Privacy Office, as well as Campus Security and Emergency Services.
“Cameras have been installed in Chown Hall and Endaayaan-Tkanónsote, and cameras will be installed in the renovated JDUC Residence when it reopens in fall 2024,” Wales added.
Residence Life and Services surveyed students on their thoughts on video surveillance in the winter of the 2023 term, and the responses they received showed students supported camera usage.
There are strong guidelines regarding surveillance footage in residence buildings, created by the H&A Safety and Security Committee. The cameras are accessible to security and emergency services, and aren’t actively monitored, only being used in cases of incidents, according to the President of the Residence Society (ResSoc) Nathan Becker-Stetson.
Although not notified by Queen’s about the camera installation, students are made aware they are under surveillance by signs posted around Victoria Hall.
“Cameras are used for investigative and deterrence purposes, along with many other strategies to educate students living in residence about their responsibilities to each other, and are one element in support of maintaining a secure community where everyone can feel safe,” Wales said.
A Journal reporter visited Victoria Hall and spoke with students to understand their stance on surveillance in residence. The Journal found most students were supportive of the installation of cameras on the premises.
According to Nathan Becker-Stetson, ResSoc is focused on representing students’ voices in these types of decisions.
“We are always open to hearing student feedback, and things that have been discussed in previous years don’t necessarily still hold true today,” Becker-Stenson said.
All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to email@example.com.