Tufts University embraces the ideals of providing a living, working and learning environment that is open and conducive to creative thought, freedom of expression and individual privacy. Tufts equally recognizes its responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment that protects its students, faculty, and staff and is committed to enhancing the quality of life of the campus community by integrating the best practices of safety, security, and technology into a comprehensive public safety program. Achieving the desirable balance of openness, privacy, and security requires extensive planning, community engagement, and careful implementation of a public safety philosophy that seeks to prevent crime and respond to it effectively when it does occur.

While university environments are generally safe, from time to time serious safety and security related incidents can occur, and it is critical to take measures to prevent them wherever possible. An important and common element of university safety is video security, a powerful tool that can prevent incidents and provide critical evidence for effective investigation. A well-planned video security program focused on crime prevention and risk reduction consists of strategically placed cameras from which video signals are transmitted to a central location where they are recorded and can be viewed both in real-time and after the fact by public safety professionals trained in their use. A comprehensive video security program:

  1. Provides for the protection of people and property by serving as a deterrent against criminal activity;
  2. Supports effective post-incident investigations;
  3. Provides public safety personnel with incident response capabilities, allowing real-time awareness of incidents in progress, and;
  4. Supports critical university functions, such as streaming live video from areas that must be monitored by staff members who cannot be physically present around-the-clock. For example, when monitoring the well-being of research animals in labs, or for monitoring the well-being of horses being treated at the Veterinary hospital.

The Department of Public and Environmental Safety (DPES) has developed a comprehensive university policy governing the use of video security on all domestic campuses: Boston, Grafton and Medford/Somerville. Through the policy, DPES will utilize video security as a tool for crime prevention, emergency response, and criminal investigation. In order to ensure the protection of individual privacy rights in accordance with the university’s core values as well as state and federal laws, the policy formalizes procedures for the installation of video security equipment and the handling, viewing, retention, dissemination, and destruction of video security records.

Drafting the policy has been based in part on research and review of other institutions of higher education video security policies as well as the expertise and experience of DPES staff and other university personnel.

An integral part of the policy development process is community engagement. DPES has sought the input of our various stakeholders across our campuses, including university leadership, faculty, staff and students through presentations, open community meetings, and by soliciting input through our web site. These forums provided the university community with an outline of the project, its goals and objectives, and opportunities to provide input.

DPES is committed to openness and transparency throughout our community.

When providing your input, we ask that you complete the form below. Please know that the information provided by you is strictly anonymous. Your name and email address is optional. If you provide your email address, we’ll use it only to communicate with you. Your name and email address will not be used or stored for any other purpose.

Your message will be received by University Police Deputy Chief Linda O’Brien.