The question of whether or not we, the collective student and faculty body of Union, feel protected from acts of crime and theft on campus is a question that remains up to interpretation by each afflicted member.
Earlier this month, Kinda Abuhawwash ’20 had her iPhone stolen whilst studying in Schaffer Library. Despite the fact that most theft on campus occurs when doors are not secure or the premises are left unattended, this proved untrue for Abuhawwash.
In response to the crime allegations by and related to that of Abuhawwash, Union Campus Safety changed the library’s keycard access time from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Monday, January 9. This means that students and faculty must use their student IDs in order to be granted entrance into the library past 6 p.m.
Director of Campus Safety Christopher Hayen distinguishes no “single incident” as the dominant cause for the time changes. “Any theft is unacceptable,” says Hayen. “This added protection is a responsible response to better safeguard the community and campus property.”
Hayen also hopes that locking the library to non-Union residents at an earlier time will help “people to feel even safer and more comfortable in their learning environment.”
Hayen proceeded to explain his original plan, which included making all access equipped buildings grant entrance only through college ID after business hours. This initiative has struggled to gain footing due to the number of individuals without college access cards who require access after business hours. Three years ago, however, Schaffer Library was equipped with a new entry door that accommodated such card access technologies, allowing for Hayen to move forward with his initiative and for access times to be switched when necessary.
Schaffer Library is the not the first building to incorporate this initiative. Reamer Campus Center used to be open until 1 a.m., the Memorial Fieldhouse until 9 p.m. and Taylor Music Center until 9 p.m. All of these times have been adjusted to earlier in the night as a preventative measure.
Changing key card access times in the library is not the only security measure being taken to prevent theft and other crimes on campus. Campus Safety is currently in the midst of finishing a project that changes the camera analog system on every monitor to all-digital, so that there can be better and more efficient research ability. Card access is installed and renewed yearly, along with blue phones. In addition, the school wide alert system continues to enhance with every passing year. Campus Safety also works with the city of Schenectady for additional cameras surrounding campus, as well as focused police patrols in the Union area. Campus safety continues to “evaluate and adjust” all security measures.
In the past 60 days, eight accounts of theft have been reported. However, three of these accounts were theft from a vehicle, two were the theft of a sign and one was theft of college property. This leaves two thefts of personal property on campus (not in a vehicle) in the last 60 days.
In comparison to other schools, Union crime statistics are, in Hayen’s words, “Very good, and as good and better than many of our peer institutions.”
Hayen concludes: “Theft occurs everywhere, and we are not immune. This and more enhancements are always in the plans. Security never sleeps.”