The College Tribune can reveal that University College Dublin has spent over €1.8 million on private security costs since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following an FOI request by this newspaper, accounts show security expenditure has increased by 10% since 2018/19 with UCD officials citing the “unprecedented circumstances” of COVID-19, “a locked-down campus requiring much greater levels of security provision” and “pay rate uplifts” across the security industry as chief causes of the inflated budget.
Despite these claims, the budget for on-campus security has increased steadily since 2014/2015 with an average year-on-year increase of 4.3%.
These figures emerge in the wake of revelations by the Sunday Mirror that UCD Campus Security are using body cameras to monitor COVID-19 rule compliance in on-campus accommodation. Their use is governed by the UCD Residential Services’ ‘Policy on the Use of Monitoring Equipment in UCD Residences’. Students must consent to this policy under their ‘licence to reside’ for on-campus accommodation.
The Policy states the “monitoring equipment” is to “be used only when required or deemed necessary by a member of the UCD Residence Team…to ensure accurate and fair monitoring of incidents or breaches of rules that are serious, potentially dangerous, or which may require documentation for further action”.
It also provides that Campus Security cannot enter apartments unless requested or accompanied by Residential Assistants, invited in by residents or responding to emergencies. Cameras “will not [be] used inside a bedroom and their use in the apartment “must be identified to the occupants prior to entering”. Any recordings which do not relate to incidents being processed “shall be deleted” and those no longer used to support “ongoing incident[s]” are “deleted within 30 days”.
Alongside UCD, Dublin City University and the University of Limerick both employ body cameras for campus security while Trinity College Dublin and NUI Maynooth have elected to do without.
Rowan Kelleher – Assistant News Editor
Additional Reporter: Conor Capplis