BEWARE, UST is watching you.

After installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras all over the campus’ street corners last year, the University opens the academic year by placing another ‘set of eyes’ inside each buildings’ classrooms and hallways.

Just in time for the installment, the Management Association of Security and School Officials (Masso) proposed last May that CCTV cameras should be in the ‘strategic areas’ of each university or college to heighten up the security for the students. Masso president Eduardo Masangcay believed that students will “now think twice about doing anything bad or illegal if there are CCTV cameras.” Also, the cameras will have the tendency to lessen kidnapping and burglar attempts.

Recently, UST installed CCTVs to monitor the activities of students inside the buildings and classrooms.

There was once a case in the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) where a number of freshmen wrote a letter to their dean’s office. These freshmen, apparently, had their valuables stolen from their lockers located in their building. These students found their lockers emptied after returning from a physical education class. The coded padlocks were found broken.

Their letter stated that, “We’re hoping that the faculty would do something to resolve this case as soon as possible. The CCTV camera in the campus might be helpful in investigating.”

If only CCTV cameras were already operational then, the culprit might have been captured before he can even escape as these guarantee an enclosed safety all over the campus’ vicinities.

The cameras were not installed just to eye on cheaters, but also burglars, students who vandalize or even faculty members who practice misconduct in the University.

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Although some complain on the CCTV installation, I think it is a smart move from University officials to ensure the safety of the Thomasian community.

Being watched is not big deal if you do not have something up under your sleeves. The University is not Big Brother’s House where everyone has to be extra careful in every action because of competition and a million-peso worth of prize. Of course, video clips recorded by the cameras will serve as evidences for sensitive matters. There are no thousands of viewers here; it is just between you and the UST Security Office.

Why are people so afraid of being watched? The CCTVs’ purpose is not to suppress the rights of the students’ freedom but to serve them the right of safety in the institution they are in.

As Artlets Dean Michael Anthony Vasco puts it, “the school is a public place.” Students have to consider that all their actions are under the University’s policies. That is why a conforme is being signed before enrollment—to show that there is an agreement between the student and UST. That is, if everyone ever reads the conforme.

I remember how my Theology professor reminds us that since we are enrolled in this University, we should abide by its policy. And being under surveillance 24/7 is included in this policy. I believe there is nothing to complain about being observed if you have nothing to hide.

But perhaps there maybe some who have reasonable complaints about the CCTV installation.

Some deans and student leaders are voicing out other improvements that should be prioritized more than the CCTV camera installation. According to them, UST should also address the concerns of each building such as lack of classrooms and pieces of equipment like LCD projectors, laptops, chairs, air conditioning units, and whiteboards.

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Given the negative criticisms from their constituents, I think the University should also act upon these issues. Hopefully, after the CCTV installation, further improvements should be done to address their concerns.

But for the meantime, instead of eyeing on the system, we should be glad that UST is observing their perimeters for our safety’s sake.

3 COMMENTS

  1. next month, meron ng metal detector ang every entrance ng building sa UST. tapos inspection of bags every entrance and exit.. para malaman kung sino kumuha ng white board markers, chalks, ballpens, chairs, tables, blackboards.. tapos next year, kelangan na ng NBI clearance, baranggay clearance sa freshmen application requirements. god of all nations! we are students, not criminals.

  2. CCTV is the right move to secure the students in the campus. It does not violate any privacy among students and faculty. What would you do inside the classroom that requires privacy? Are you doing sexual acts inside the classroom? watching you while attending a class is not a violation. Unless you’re scared seeing cheating or sleeping class. On the faculty, is there an under the table transaction that might be caught by the CCTV?

    So please don’t be so over acting with that NBI clearance etc thingy. it makes you look narrow minded

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