Video Security on Campus

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 whenever 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. Serves as an investigative tool post-incident;
  3. Provides public safety personnel with real-time awareness of incidents, and;
  4. Supports critical university operational needs, such as streaming live video from areas that must be monitored by research or other staff members who cannot be physically present around-the clock. For instance, 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 developing a comprehensive university policy for the use of video security on all domestic campuses: Boston, Grafton and Medford/Somerville. Through the application of the policy, Tufts University 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 and 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. The policy is based on research and review of other higher education institution video security policies as well as the expertise and experience of Tufts DPES staff and other university personnel.

The policy is now in final draft. Please know though that DPES is still actively seeking the input of our various stakeholders from across our campuses, including university leadership, faculty, staff, and students.

If you would like to submit a question, concern and/or comment, please visit our web page at http://publicsafety.tufts.edu. Go to the link Video Security on Campus. There you will find a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link, and two separate means by which you can submit questions, concerns and/or comments: by either identifying yourself or remaining anonymous.

Tufts University is committed to an open and transparent policy development process. We continue to invite your input through our web page. We look forward to your advice and counsel.

Please refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” page to see if your comments have been answered. If not, feel free to fill out the form below.

Video Security on Campus Feedback

Regards,

Kevin C. Maguire, Director

Department of Public & Environmental Safety