Video Surveillance Policy

Alfred State College reserves the right to place cameras on its campuses where necessary and appropriate. Alfred State College respects the privacy of university community members and takes appropriate steps to balance that privacy against safety needs on its campuses. Cameras extend the protection of University Police, even when officers are not in an immediate area. Cameras are not a guarantee of safety, but are a tool that assists University Police. Cameras protect campus community members from dangers by serving as deterrents and alerting police to dangers.

This policy does not apply to legitimate academic use of video cameras for educational purposes, to cameras used for journalism, or to private video cameras owned and operated by members of the campus community. This policy applies to all property owned or controlled by Alfred State College or its representatives.

Camera Placement

The following policy shall govern the placement of cameras in public areas at Alfred State College:

  • University Police may establish temporary or permanent video surveillance cameras in public areas of Alfred State College. These cameras shall not make audio recordings.
  • This policy does not apply to covert cameras used by University Police or another law enforcement agency for criminal surveillance as governed by New York Penal Law.
  • Cameras shall not be established in private areas of the campus without obtaining a warrant and only subject to the second bullet above. Alfred State College defines a private area to include residence hall rooms, bathrooms, shower areas, locker and changing rooms, areas where a reasonable person might change clothing, or private offices. Additionally, rooms used for medical, physical, or mental therapy or treatment are private. Private areas also include the entrances, exits, lobbies, exam rooms, hallways of on-campus medical centers, counseling centers, or health facilities. The only exceptions are cameras used narrowly to secure money, documents, supplies, or pharmaceuticals from theft, destruction, or tampering.
  • Video surveillance cameras shall not be directed or zoomed into the windows of private rooms of any residential building including residence halls. To the maximum extent possible, electronic shielding should be utilized so that the camera does not have the capability to look into or through windows.
  • Video surveillance cameras shall not be directed or zoomed into the windows of a private building not on college property.
  • Empty dummy or placebo cameras will not be used.

Notification of the Campus Community

The Alfred State College community will be notified that cameras may be utilized. Postings may accompany cameras and may appear on signs posted at the campus entrances. The policy will be made available to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors on the College Web site and be printed in appropriate publications.

Camera Use and Nonuse

  • Cameras are not to be used to monitor individual students, faculty, or staff, except as necessary for a criminal investigation and except as in accordance with the terms of a warrant. Cameras may be used to monitor a student or employee work area, such as an area with financial transactions, even if there is only one student, faculty, or staff member employed in that work area. Cameras used to monitor a work area should not be able to view the contents of computer screens. If the cameras can pan to view computer screens, electronic shielding should be utilized so that these cameras are not used to monitor employee computer use.
  • Video surveillance cameras will not be used to prosecute petty violations on campus, such as violations of parking rules.
  • Video surveillance cameras will not be monitored by Human Resources to evaluate employee performance.
  • Video surveillance cameras shall be used exclusively for campus safety and security purposes. The campus committee that governs human subject research does not have jurisdiction over video recorded by video surveillance cameras and may not authorize any research arms or organization, whether faculty or student, to use these cameras, or recordings from the cameras, for research purposes.

Establishment of Cameras on Campus

  • Temporary video surveillance cameras are defined as cameras that are established by the University Police to provide additional security for a campus event or situation, and that are not in place for more than 30 days. Permanent video surveillance cameras are established as part of the campus infrastructure and require planning and approval by the appropriate authorities.
  • Camera placement will be initially determined by the chief of University Police. Persons requesting camera placement shall complete a camera request form, available from the chief of University Police. Upon receipt of the request, the chief shall consider appropriateness, consult with any college representatives who should be given input, and then render a determination. The Campus Safety Advisory Committee will annually review the list of camera locations and purposes and the findings of the results will be disseminated to the college community via that committee’s annual report.

Camera Monitoring

  • Video may only be monitored by University Police officers. No unapproved employees may monitor or view video for any reason except as necessary in the course of an investigation or adjudication. Select Technology Services employees tasked with installation, maintenance, or adjustment of cameras, are approved for incidental access to the footage if such access is directly in conjunction with those aforementioned duties.
  • If the University Police feels it is necessary to aid in an investigation or search, small video clips or image stills may be released to the media or the public.
  • Those officers approved to monitor video should receive training in effective, legal, and ethical use of the monitoring equipment. These officers will receive a copy of this policy and provide written acknowledgement that they have read and understand this policy. Officers will receive any and all updates or amendments to this policy.

Video or Other Storage Media

  • Video tapes or other media will be stored and transported in a manner that preserves security. Current and archived tapes or media shall be kept locked and secured.
  • Recordings not related to, or used for an investigation, shall be kept confidential and data will be destroyed as it is over-written. Video used for investigation or prosecution of a crime shall be retained until the end of the proceeding and appeal period unless directed otherwise by a court.
  • No recording shall be altered in any manner. Steps should be taken to ensure that no editing or alterations compromise recorded video. The only narrow exception allows for faces of nonparticipants in an incident to be blurred for privacy reasons in the event a video or still image is provided to the media.
  • University Police will work with the Technology Services Department to determine the security of the system and to ensure proper password and security technology for video transferred or transmitted over a computer system.

Destruction or Tampering with Cameras

Any person who tampers with or destroys a video surveillance camera or any part of the video surveillance system may be prosecuted in the criminal justice system as well as the campus judicial system.

Developed by Emergency Response Planning team - May 2009
Reviewed & Recommended by Faculty Senate - December 2009
Approved by College Cabinet - February 2010