Webcams in Marshall Student Center waste of money

The two webcams USF installed in the Marshall Student Center serve no purpose and, more importantly, are a waste of University dollars.

It cost the University $4,000 to install the two cameras and feed the video to the Center’s Web site.

One camera, located in the student center’s atrium, is primarily focused on the University’s seal and only covers only about 20 feet of tiles typically. The other shows a view of the outside plaza.

With the state of the economy, the loss of $28.6 million in state funding and the need to increase tuition to maintain services, there is no reason the University should be spending $4,000 for webcams — except for security measures.

However, Marshall Student Center Communications and Marketing Officer Brian Schulte said the webcams only show live feed and can’t record, which indicates that they are unlikely to serve a security purpose and are only for entertainment viewing.

“Student centers across the country have webcams,” Schulte said. “Students and alumni love seeing the projects and progress around the school.”

Interest in a webcam at the student center is debatable, but the University doesn’t seem to have made any significant efforts to get the word out about the webcams. Also, students who are aware of them are questioning whether the webcams could be impinging on their privacy.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know that there are cameras in here,” said Elaine Jean-Pierre, a junior majoring in nursing. “It’s almost like invasion of privacy, because I could be sitting with my friends and there is a camera watching what we are doing.”

It’d be one thing if USF were using the cameras for a practical purpose, such as making sure its students were safe and secure.

Espeically with the recent gun scare and bomb threat on campus, recordable security webcams, views from which could be posted for entertainment as well, would be a useful tool for University Police. As it stands, they’re just a flimsy marketing effort in imitation of other universities.

Thankfully, the University isn’t planning on installing more webcams. If it does, they should be for security, not superficiality.

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