A Question of Priorities

Last Tuesday, the editorial board of The Minnesota Daily commented on what we viewed to be inaction on the part of the University regarding the improvement of residence hall security. A news report from the same edition of the Daily served to galvanize this stance, while simultaneously raising questions about the slow response. The Daily reported in âÄúIntruder breaks into Elliot HallâÄù that the vending machines around the University, with numbers in excess of 1000, would have anti-theft camera equipment installed within approximately two weeks. Yet the University, whose measure proposes to install a mere 10 percent of the cameras needed for the candy machines, will not have completed its improvements for several months. The notion that our snack machines will be secure before our peers is patently unacceptable. The issue first arose last spring, when several sexual assaults were reported in the residence halls, and the University pledged to improve security. We believed then, as now, that the update of security measures (which currently includes the addition of 110 cameras and six ID card readers to campus residence halls) could have been undertaken and completed before the arrival of students on campus. Yet despite the responsibility for student safety borne by the University and the pittance of effort required to fulfill that responsibility, students will be obliged to wait until winter for protection by surveillance. In the meantime, secure snack machines are just a heartbeat away. Taher Dining and Vending service, the administrator of the UniversityâÄôs snack vending, was awarded a 10-year contract in April âÄî about the time the Pioneer Hall sexual assault took place. Since then, Taher Vending has taken the initiative in arranging the installation of camera equipment for all the units in its charge. One hopes that the University would have shown the same gumption. The University should take every step possible to install residence hall security cameras as soon as possible, as students will no doubt take little comfort knowing that while they may not be safe, their PearsonâÄôs Salted Nut Rolls need not fear.