UCD have confirmed that security staff and Residential Assistants are now equipped with security cameras, and may film inside Student Residences. This confirmation was made after reports gathered by the University Observer from students living on campus asserted that their apartments have been filmed by UCD personnel in the past week.
Students’ Union President Pat de Brún further corroborated this assertion, saying, “Once we heard some anecdotal evidence of this, we began actively investigating it via the Res reps and other sources, trying to get some accounts, and that process is on going … I’ve heard five or six reports … This is something that I would regard as extremely serious, I think it’s a human rights issue and I think if it is happening the fact that no consultation and no notification has taken place isn’t acceptable.”
A spokesman for UCD stated, “Security staff have recording devices as part of their equipment, and they may be used to record incidents on campus. If attending to a reported incident in a student apartment, security staff must be accompanied by an RA at all times. An RA may separately request the use of a recording device themselves when they are attending incidents in student residences, but they must alert those in the vicinity when such devices are in use when attending an apartment.”
The spokesman for UCD also affirmed “Recorded incidents are only viewed and used as support materials when incidents are investigated under the license to reside or the student code.
This conflicts with the account of one student living in Residences, who claimed, “There was one incident at about four o’ clock in the morning a week ago … a security guard came in, said ‘What’s going on here, you’ve been making noise’, and proceeded to come into the house. He walked around with a camera … he walked around and filmed all our stuff.”
The student, who wished to remain anonymous, went on to say, “There was nothing
really to warrant what happened at the time … there was no noise going on, there was no reason for them to come up here in the first place.”
When asked whether the member of the security staff was accompanied by an RA, the student stated, “It was just the security guard.”
De Brún also stated that this was not the first time the filming of student residences by UCD personnel has been reported. “This is something which came to our attention first back in the summer, we heard some kind of rumours or reports that this was happening, and we were extremely concerned … We were told that it was not going to be implemented, that they were looking into it and that they trialed it, but that it wasn’t going to happen, and it wouldn’t happen without notifying students first via the SU … There has been no contact with the Students’ Union about that since, and it’s something we felt very, very strongly about. I think it’s a huge invasion of privacy and it’s something I’m really concerned about.”
When asked what course of action the SU would take regarding the matter, De Brún stated, “The first port of call is to find out exactly what the situation is, and how this was allowed to happen. The next step is to stop it, as soon as possible.”