Saturday, May 30

Revised security camera policies attempt to address student concerns

UCLA is seeking student feedback on its new security camera policy, said Executive Vice Chancellor Michael Beck (pictured) in an email sent to students. Students held a town hall to voice their concerns about the policy in October 2018. (Ashley Kenney/Daily Bruin)

UCLA administrators revised security camera policies to include more specific guidelines for camera operators and background checks.

The revised security camera policy seeks to promote security by creating a centralized database of recorded images and establishing guidelines for the removal of cameras that are not compliant with the new policy, said Michael Beck, administrative vice chancellor, in an email announcement May 20.

Students raised concerns about surveillance, cost and privacy to administrators at a town hall in October after a previous draft of the policy was released to students for input in the same month. Students were also concerned because they thought administrators had not taken student input into account.

The latest policy revision says camera operators must report illegal activities caught on camera that are urgent health or campus safety threats to UCPD or Campus Human Resources immediately.

The revised draft also specifies that background check requirements for security camera operators will be defined by a designated group appointed by the administrative vice chancellor.

Beck said in the email announcement that students will be able to share their opinions about the policy change with the administration by submitting comments on the UCLA Administrative Policies and Procedures website. Students can also attend a public forum hosted by administrators that will be held sometime during the review period, which ends June 20, he said.

Beck said in an email statement that he reached out to Undergraduate Students Association Council and Graduate Students Association officials, as well as student leaders in the Community Programs Office, for input regarding the most recent revisions.

Lily Shaw, USAC Facilities commissioner, said she thinks administrators adequately publicized the revised policy, but added she thinks more can be done to increase student awareness.

“An alert on MyUCLA would be good, (or) talking about (it) in classes, because it affects everyone, so I think it’s something that should be mass-publicized, considering that they do want student voices to be heard,” Shaw said.

Shaw also said she wanted to know if the costs associated with security camera installation and footage monitoring would come from student fees or from university funding.

“It’s really important to be transparent with students on that, especially with the recent tuition hike for out-of-state students,” Shaw said.

The policy revision does not specifically mention any costs involved with the changes.

Salvador Martinez, a third-year applied mathematics student, said he thinks UCLA’s new policy takes students’ concerns about the previous draft into account, but said he wants the revised policy to establish designated locations for camera installation to ensure student privacy.

“We want definitions of what’s a public area and what’s a secure, private area,” he said. “We wouldn’t want cameras placed in front of the (Counseling and Psychological Services center), since we want students to have as much privacy as possible in these locations.”

Students also said they have concerns about the timing of the public forum and review period.

“Right now is not the best time for a public forum; it’s week eight. Students are graduating, finishing assignments and planning their summers,” Martinez said. “Hosting it at the beginning of each quarter gives students more opportunity to provide feedback.”

Shaw said she thinks the timing of the forum is not ideal because students have upcoming finals, but added she wants to coordinate with her office to submit comments to administrators.

The revised policy will be reviewed by the UCLA Police Chief’s Advisory Council on June 5, Beck said.

Assistant News editor

Chavez-Martinez is the 2019-2020 Assistant News editor for the Campus Politics beat. She was previously a reporter for the beat. Chavez-Martinez is also a second-year English major.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.