By Jessica Doran
Theft on any college campus is to be expected. However, the textbook thefts of last fall term were of a different caliber. It has become a habit of Union students to leave their belongings in the libraryas a way of “marking their territory.”
This practice becomes a ritual during finals week, a ritual that is found to be quietly respected.
Last term, someone, or a number of people, took advantage of the unattended belongings, stealing textbooks and attempting to sell them back to the bookstore. The immoral nature of these acts is definitely questionable and disheartening when you consider that the people acting are your own peers.
Meredith Adamo ‘13 was a victim of these textbook thefts during finals in the fall. As if you were not sleep-deprived enough and your brain wasn’t fried from too many hours of staring at a computer screen or a book, imagine having to deal with someone stealing your textbook, your one link to a good grade.
Adamo left her books overnight in the library, only for a few hours, and returned to find her own, and other peers’ textbooks gone. Adamo said, “We reported it to Campus Safety and the bookstore and they took down our information. I then got a call later that afternoon that someone had tried to sell my book back, and the bookstore returned it to me.”
Adamo was unsure if any of the other victims’ books had been found, and she considers herself lucky.
However, she also said, “It’s unfortunate that it happened, and it’s unfortunate that someone would do that, but I feel that I am equally at fault because I never should have left my books there in the first place. I guess I learned the hard way!”
Lauren Laitman ‘11 was a little more inconvenienced by her situation. Someone stole her Physics textbook only a few hours before her exam.
“I left it at my cubicle unattended for four hours in the middle of the night and went back the next morning to find that it was gone along with three textbooks from the people around me. Additionally, I heard of six peoples textbooks getting stolen that night,” she said. Laitman never got her textbook back.
Although they could not speak on any particular documented incidents, Director of Campus Safety Christopher Hayen said, “We have had a few different individuals who have been caught taking and returning textbooks. Individuals will either return the books to our bookstore or at a neighboring college or university. The college bookstore and my department work closely with other colleges to solve and apprehend individuals that commit this offense.”
This begs the question of whether or not students should be leaving their belongings in the library in the first place.
It is not advised, as anything can be taken, but should the level of trust on a college. It is not advised, as anything can be taken, but should the level of trust on a college campus make you feel better about leaving your things and trusting people not to take them?
When polled, three times the number of people responded that they do not feel comfortable leaving their belongings in the library as opposed to those who do. This may be a result of these highly publicized thefts last term, but there seems to still be reason to worry.
On Jan. 5, two suspects were observed on video surveillance taking textbooks from the bookstore. Campus Safety was immediately notified. Later that day, Tim Porter, the manager of Union College’s bookstore, was notified by the University of Albany bookstore manager that two of the books were recovered during a buyback period from a UAlbany student who was taken into custody and charged with possession of stolen property.
Clearly, these acts of injustice are still persisting and it is unclear if they will be stopping anytime soon.