STUDENTS and professors are alarmed over the installation of hundreds of additional security cameras on campus, saying no consultations were held over a matter that could violate a person’s privacy.

UST now has more than 1,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, including the second phase of 725 additional spy cameras installed in six buildings.

Student Organizations Coordinating Council (SOCC) President Benjamin Zoilo Mario Ravanera III said students would feel like being “unfairly trapped in a cage” with cameras watching everyone’s move.

“Classrooms should be private, leaving the space to professors and students alone—without any outside force watching them,” Ravanera told the Varsitarian. “How are you going to work properly if somebody is closely watching you? We are like convicts behind bars.”

The cameras will operate 24/7, with features such as “tagging” that can monitor specific people entering the campus premises, officials have said.

Ravanera also expressed his opposition to the installation of spy cameras inside the Tan Yan Kee Student Center, which houses 36 University-wide organizations.

“The installation of CCTV cameras will hinder and impede work [inside the organization room],” Ravanera said. “Students will feel uncomfortable because of the fact that they are being watched, which defeats the purpose of having an office.”

It remains unclear who has access to the videos, how long they will be stored, and whether students can request for copies.

This early, questions have been raised over the reliability of CCTV cameras.

Mikaela Tiongson, secretary of the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management Student Council, said: “The cost is too expensive, considering that CCTV cameras do not cover every square inch of an area.”

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The initial phase of camera installation last year was estimated to have cost P10 million.

A Communication Arts senior, who asked not to be named, told the Varsitarian how she had found out that the cameras have “blind spots.”

After losing her digital recorder last October, she requested a playback of the camera footage of the room where she had been that day, at the right wing of St. Raymund Peñafort Building.

But officials told her the camera did not capture her spot.

“Ang binigay pa sa aking advice … ‘The next time you have a meeting, pumunta ka dun sa matatamaan ng camera mismo’,” she said.

The installation of the cameras has also caught the ire of some professors, saying their “human rights” could be violated.

A College of Science professor who asked not to be named said the failure of UST officials to consult faculty members on the installation of CCTV cameras would stir misunderstandings.

“[There was] a lack of consultation between the faculty members and the administration,” he said. “There may [also] be a violation of the right to privacy and academic freedom.”

In a previous report of the Varsitarian, the Facilities Management Office and the UST Security Office downplayed concerns that academic freedom would be curtailed, saying dome-shaped cameras inside classrooms won’t pick up audio.

Celso Nierra, a professor from the Institute of Religion, observed that CCTV cameras are only limited to monitoring only and cannot really determine who enters the University’s buildings.

“Funds should be spent on the enhancement of our status not just as professors but as beings who deserve to be treated not as tools but as humans,” he said. R. D. Madrid and C. M. T. G. Verzosa with reports from Y. V. B. Gonzales

3 COMMENTS

  1. I support security camera installation in college decision by college authorities but I don’t think cameras need to install places where students or teachers personal safety can be violated. Therefore I just wanted to say install security protocols where requires. Thanks.
    surveillance camera

  2. During the campaign period, senatorial candidates were asked what were the Top 3 platforms they stood for if elected and the number 1 issue Risa Hontiveros stood for was the Divorce Law. And now she and her supporters are dumbfounded she ended up #17.

  3. Its a very good idea that installing Security cameras in draws jeers. This is not only for Student security purpose but also for the watching things in Campus. Installing hundreds of additional security cameras on campus will going to give surely good result for the college and the goodwill for the authorities also. i appreciate the idea for installing Cameras.

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