UI Faculty council works on new video surveillance policies


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As University of Iowa faculty obtain new equipment and move into newer facilities, Human Resource officials have seen more requests for surveillance cameras.

A new proposal brought before the Faculty Council on Tuesday would establish policies for camera requests.

Kevin Ward, UI assistant vice president for Human Resources, said the policy would set qualifications for who can request a surveillance camera and establish documentation procedures for public record purposes. Ward said having guidelines would speed up the installation of the cameras.

"In general, the requests have increased because of the convergence of technology and concerns about safety," he said. "We've been working with representatives of IT and public safety to try to develop a policy where currently no policy exists."

UI faculty, staff, and students can request the installation of surveillance cameras in or outside any building on campus to increase security, though the university does not have a specific policy regulating the requirements for the installation of video surveillance, including proper documentation. Since the fall of 2011, 400 requests have been filed to UI Information Technology Services for surveillance cameras.

Faculty Council President Richard Fumerton said he believed there are roughly 700 surveillance cameras installed on campus. The additional requests, he said, came from people in general wanting to feel secure.

"It's just a fact of modern life that we rely more and more heavily on electronic surveillance, primarily for security," he said.

If approved, proposals for surveillance cameras would be submitted to the UI police rather than ITS. UI police would be exempt from any surveillance-camera proposal requirements.

"It's good that there be a policy that spells out what use should be made of surveillance cameras and how their use should be approved," Fumerton said.

Faculty Council member Professor Jane Pendergast said she was surprised to hear the UI didn't already have a policy.

"I'm glad to hear about it and that there is a plan to create one," she said. "I think it will lead to further thinking about other types of monitoring that people can do."

Ward initially brought the proposal before the council Tuesday to be voted on; however, the council decided to wait until more information was gathered and presented to the Faculty Senate.

The Faculty Senate will convene and review the policy at its next meeting, April 24.

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