Security Measures Bumped Up in Mez

Ellen Hoffman, Editor-in-Chief

Increased security measures are pending for Communications Department facilities and equipment after an Apple iMac computer went missing from a student lab in Walsh Hall and a second computer was damaged.

Photography professor Jimmy May arrived for class on Oct. 17 to an empty space on one of the computer desks. Surprised, he called Department Chair Melissa Sgroi to question what happened. Minutes later Sgroi and a campus safety officer entered the Mac lab to document the theft.

“I was shocked,” said junior Arthur Dowell who was in the classroom when security arrived. “I didn’t even notice the computer was gone or there was an issue until Sgroi and security came down.”

Security reported a Mac computer missing, including a keyboard, mouse and card reader. Another computer was corrupted, and officials said it appeared someone attempted to illegally download applications.

Sophomore communications major Alex Smith is frustrated because her web design work was saved on the missing device. Now, Smith must redo all of her assignments.

“When I first heard about it, I didn’t realize it was my computer, but then I walked into class and realized what was going on. I was so mad I was ready to throw things,” Smith said.

Smith feels her peers should understand how important the computers in the “Mez” lab are to classwork.

“That’s an area that we all work. Most other majors don’t even know that all those Macs are down there, so if it is someone in my major, that really aggravates me because they should understand the most,” Smith said.

“Smith said she often saves work to a jump drive, but she assumed computers in the lab were safe.  “I didn’t think anyone would touch it because there are a limited amount of people that go down there. I didn’t think I would have to worry,” Smith said. “There are a lot of things that I have to redo and relearn now. There are five [or] six projects on there that I have to redo.”

Dowell works in the media equipment checkout room in the lower level of Walsh, handling video cameras, digital SLR cameras and other equipment for communications classes. He said he knew  when officers became involved that this would be a big issue and security for all equipment would increase.

“I think all the comm majors are kind of surprised something like this would happen. This is equipment for us to work on for our classes,” he said.

Associate Director of Campus Safety Robert Zavada said his office is investigating.

“To preserve the integrity of the investigation, we can’t really give details on that process but we can say that we have a couple leads on things and we’ll try to follow up on those the best that we can.”

According to Zavada  incidents of technology theft have occurred in the past. He said the technology’s “somewhat attractive features” often serve as a target to would-be perpetrators.

Zavada and Sgroi say security will increase in the  lab. They are looking into placing a card scanner outside the door and only permitting access to students who have classes in that room.

Many students work on projects in the lab late into the night and Dowell said he’s concerned that they might be prevented from working at all hours.

“A lot of students work on projects later in the evening, when classes are over, so I think this will make it harder on them to gain access and complete their projects and classwork on time. It’s going to be more of a hassle than anything,” Dowell said.

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