Many people can be identified by the belongings they own, so when damage or thievery to these particular items occur, some may consider it a personal attack. Students at Keene State College are encouraged to be responsible for their personal belongings.
In the Residential Life and Housing Information, it states clearly,: “The College does not assume any liability for loss, damage or injury resulting from theft, explosion, fire, mechanical failure of either gas or water lines, loss of electricity, defective wiring or negligence of any occupant of the building. It is strongly urged that students purchase appropriate insurance policies to protect themselves from loss or damage to personal possessions.”
KSC Junior Scott Criscuolo said he agreed with this and doesn’t believe the college should have that obligation to protect a student’s personal belongings. “There’s just so many people and I don’t think that it’s [the college’s] responsibility, unless it’s like staff or [something],” he said.
Associate Director for Facilities and Business Operations Jim Carley said they rarely have students come in who are angry about stolen items. Carley said, “We can’t control theft from our [end]. I’m not you in your room that’s leaving the door open or not locking your door. If the lock on their door didn’t work, they probably would be [angry with us], but we’re securing them in a way that we need to.”
Carley said that if there’s damage like a water leak from an upper floor that ruins the belongings of a resident below, they would encourage that student to check their insurance. “I think most homeowner’s insurance policies do cover that,” he said.
According to www.frontlineinsurance.com, “Generally, a homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your student’s possessions while they are away at school if you still consider them a member of the household and they reside on campus.”
Carley also said that the Residential Life Building has pamphlets available on the first floor about separate policies exclusively for students’ belongings.
KSC first-year Emily McNamara said she does find it smart to get renter’s insurance if there is theft or damage and to make sure you trust your roommate. “We were first [to our dorms], we talked about going into each other’s stuff and what was [appropriate],” she said.
KSC first-year Aron Statler said he’s also not concerned about his roommate stealing anything. Statler said, “My roommate’s pretty cool.”
Statler said he used to go to boarding school and never had any problems with thievery. “Then again,” he said, “It was a boarding school [of] like 350 kids or something, not two-thousand people [like KSC].” He said, regardless of these differences in numbers, he hasn’t had any issues here at KSC either. “The only way something could really get stolen is if [it’s in] a common room. I don’t know, unless you let [someone] in your room, [people] can’t get to your things,” he said.
KSC student Chelsea Freleng said she hasn’t heard about people breaking into dorm rooms as much as she has been hearing about them breaking into cars. She said that having cameras in parking lots could help combat this.
Criscuolo also said having cameras could be helpful. “I think in common areas there should be cameras, and doorway cameras [facing the dorm hall] would be good,” Criscuolo said.
Although he now lives off campus, Criscuolo said that he is aware that school property gets damaged and something needs to be done about that since in most cases the whole floor is charged a restoration fee. “[We need to] hold people accountable when things do get damaged and try to discourage that, especially in first-year dorms,” he said.
Carley said we need to keep the cost of cameras in mind. He said, “Cameras are not cheap; not only is the camera [expensive], but it’s the wiring, the monitoring; someone has to be on watch.” He said there are already a few cameras on campus, usually in common areas in the residence halls.
Carley said that using cameras to catch people is tricky since you can’t put a camera in someone’s room and having cameras in the hallways won’t prove a perpetrator’s guilt.
Associate Director of Campus Safety Stuart Mitchell said it’s also important to avoid leaving your valuables in a place where it’s easy for someone to grab them and take off. “Maintain control of your stuff, be aware of your surroundings, who’s going in and out of [your room],” Mitchell said. He also said it’s important to be careful with items in your car. “Deny somebody the impulse, the opportunity,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said, “This year we’ve been fairly fortunate; we haven’t had a lot of thefts from rooms or vehicles.”
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