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Electronic Surveillance Policy

The purpose of this policy is to regulate the use of electronic surveillance and recording of public and restricted areas for the purposes of safety and security.

SUNY Canton reserves the right to place cameras on campus where necessary and appropriate. This policy applies to all personnel, departments, offices, and other subdivisions of the College in the use of electronic recording and surveillance.

All recording or monitoring of video records will be conducted in a professional, ethical, and legal manner by University Police, or an authorized designee appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs, for the purposes of investigation or adjudication.

SUNY Canton respects the privacy of university community members and is sensitive to balancing that privacy with safety and security needs on campus. Cameras are not a guarantee of safety but a tool that assists University Police. Cameras may help to protect campus community members from dangers by serving as a deterrent and expediting investigations. Camera images will not be monitored continuously by University Police staff.

This policy does not apply to legitimate academic use of cameras for educational purposes, to cameras used for journalism, or to private cameras owned and operated by members of the campus community.


  1. Camera Placement
    1. University Police may establish temporary or permanent cameras in public areas of the campus. These cameras will not make audio recordings.
    2. This policy does not apply to covert cameras used by University Police for criminal surveillance or as governed by the New York Penal Law.
    3. Cameras may not be established in private areas of the campus without obtaining a warrant. Private areas include resident rooms, bathrooms, shower areas, locker and changing rooms, areas where a reasonable person might change clothes, and private offices. Rooms for medical, physical, or mental therapy or treatment are private. Private areas also include the entrances, exits, lobbies, exam rooms or hallways of the Personal Counseling Center or Davis Health Center. The only exceptions are cameras focused to protect money, documents, supplies, or pharmaceuticals from theft, destruction, or tampering.
    4. Cameras shall not be directed or zoomed into the windows of any private residential space or office.
    5. Cameras shall not be directed or zoomed into the windows of any private building not on College property.
    6. This policy prohibits the use of empty dummy or placebo cameras.
    7. Video cameras should be visible unless they are being used in accordance to #2 above.
    8. The Chief of University Police or their designee will determine placement and use of surveillance cameras on campus.
  2. Camera Use and Nonuse
    1. Cameras shall be used for campus public safety and security matters.
    2. Surveillance cameras will not be used to evaluate employee performance unless a formal investigation results in a determination that a safety issue may exist.
    3. Cameras may be used to monitor a student or employee area, such as an area with financial transactions, even if there is only one student, faculty, or staff member employed in that work area. Cameras used to monitor work areas are not intended to view the contents of computer screens.
  3. Camera Monitoring
    1. Personnel are prohibited from using or disseminating information acquired from surveillance cameras except for official purposes upon approval of the Chief of Police or designee.
    2. If University Police feels it is necessary to aid in an investigation or search, small video clips or still images can be released to media or public. Prior to release, the face and identifying features of all those on video not of interest to the investigation should be blurred.
  4. Video Recording
    1. All video recording/data will be stored in a manner to protect security which could include password protection and encryption.
    2. Recordings used for an investigation or prosecution will be retained until the end of the proceeding appeal period unless directed by the court.
    3. No recording/data will be altered in any manner, except faces of nonparticipants.
    4. Current and archived video under review will be indicated on a log indicting person viewing, date, time, file viewed, and purpose.
  5. Destruction or Tampering
    Any person who tampers with or destroys a video surveillance camera, date, or any part of the video surveillance system may be prosecuted in the criminal justice system as well as campus.