The Case Of The Disappearing Security Cameras

Sean Newhouse 
Online Editor

Update: Tuesday at 6 p.m. – The university has asked us to include this statement: “University of Dayton Public Safety will not discuss operational details, including placements of cameras.” 

Flyer News reported that security cameras had been installed on Lowes Street before St. Patrick’s Day this year. A statement from the university implied that security cameras had been on Lowes for years. In response, we deleted the report and posted a correction.

However, due to the sharp eye of Flyer News’ director of digital media – Christian Cubacub – we’ve learned that security cameras had, in fact, been installed for St. Patrick’s Day.

In the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17 – the day students returned from spring break), multiple students who stayed on campus for break posted on social media that security cameras had been installed on Lowes Street, the customary street in the student neighborhood for student St. Patrick Day celebrations.

To confirm or disprove this claim, Flyer News reached out to university spokespeople on March 16. On March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day), we decided to tweet out that security cameras had been installed on Lowes Street based on multiple student reports. This tweet was accompanied by pictures of the cameras.

On March 18, a university spokesman responded to our query.

“As is the case with virtually every institution and business, cameras have been monitoring campus for a number of years for the safety and security of our community,” he said.

Based on this response, and the fact that we had no photographic or video evidence of the security cameras being installed, we decided to delete the tweet and issue a correction.

“CORRECTION: FN tweeted on March 17 that, based on multiple student reports, security cameras had been installed on Lowes Street. However, university officials said ‘cameras have been monitoring campus for a number of years for the safety and security of our community,’” we wrote.

On May 21, Christian Cubacub informed the Flyer News editorial staff that he noticed the security cameras in question were no longer there. (The cameras could’ve been removed earlier than this.)

The photo on the left was taken just before St. Patrick’s Day. The one on the right was taken after the semester ended. Photos courtesy of Christian Cubacub.

We reached out to the university spokesman who issued the initial statement on the cameras. He responded with that same statement from March and an additional statement that temporary security cameras were installed.

“We had additional support from a temporary system for special events installed by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation,” according to university officials.

So, additional security cameras were installed for St. Patrick’s Day.

In a follow-up to this statement, Rodney Chatman, the executive director of public safety and UD’s police chief, told Flyer News that cameras are integral for campus security.

“Cameras are a vital component to safeguarding any space,” he said in a statement.

In 2018, 12 students were arrested and riot police had to break up student St. Patrick Day celebrations that blocked the street. This year two students were arrested.

Stay observant, Flyers.

An earlier version of this article said: “The university told us this was inaccurate, implying that security cameras had been on Lowes for years.” For clarity, this has been changed to “A statement from the university implied that security cameras had been on Lowes for years.”