8 buildings remain unguarded at night and on weekends as New York cuts overtime security on campus – Washington Square News

According to a note sent by the department to building managers, some campus security posts remain unmanned at night and on weekends after New York University’s Campus Security Department cut overtime hours for security staff in several buildings. Sometimes security posts were filled by non-campus security university staff. These security gaps are a result of the department’s budget constraints.

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We just don’t understand how it has become a challenge to keep buildings open to students who pay a quarter of a million dollars and attend here for four years. ”

– anonymous administrator of the NYU building

The eight affected buildings are 20 Cooper Square, 2 MetroTech, Pless Hall, Warren Weaver Hall, Galatina Building, the School of Global Public Health, the Silver Center and the Barney Building. Some departments in these places, such as journalism and the art studio, provide specialized equipment – including video editing computers and art workspaces – without which students cannot complete their work.

“At the moment, the department, the deans, everyone, is really well aware of this and is furious about it,” said the building’s administrator regarding the shortage of staff and the closure of buildings. “We just don’t understand how it’s become a challenge to keep buildings open to students who pay a quarter of a million dollars and attend here for four years.”

A building administrator and New York University campus security officials who spoke to WSN were asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the university administration.

Previously, the buildings were guarded for a week. However, since Feb. 5, there have been security gaps at night and on weekends, the building administrator said, because the state now depends on limited staff availability.

In an email viewed by WSN, campus security director Karen Ortman informed the affected building administrators that the security coverage previously provided through overtime work would be eliminated. The building administrator said there was not enough about $ 8 million to pay officers for overtime work, and that Campus Safety was not enough staff to cover the extra hours.

University spokesman John Beckman said New York University has sought to cut overtime costs on campus security by hiring more officers. In a statement to WSN, he said the number of officers had risen from 251 in July 2020 to 327 as of February 2022.

«NYU is constantly striving to save money because these savings, in turn, help fund any number of university priorities such as increasing financial aid, curbing increase in attendance, investing in academic programs, and these are just some of them, ”Beckman wrote. “It’s a model we already use in about a quarter of our campuses, and it’s working well; we’re just putting it in a number of extra places to cut overtime costs.”

A campus security official said the plan is to reduce the total salaries of officers who use overtime as an additional source of income. The officer said many workers are counting on overtime hours, which are paid one and a half times.

“If there was no overtime work, this work would be a financial struggle,” the officer said. “Security guards traditionally make a lot of money – we get a pretty decent salary – but it’s New York, so they’re never enough.”

An empty security post at Warren Weaver Hall on Sunday, Feb. 13 around 2 p.m. The reduction in overtime hours for campus security staff has left security posts unmanned at night and on weekends, and security guards are concerned about the safety of New York University students and faculty. (Staff photo Karma Monis)

Another campus security officer said many department staff were concerned about following COVID-19 recommendations and the possibility for people not affiliated with New York University to enter the university building unguarded.

“They could go from the professors who came out of the building and just came in,” the officer said. “And students may not know how to get out of a building in an emergency.”

Responding to concerns about COVID-19 and infiltration, Beckman said video surveillance, crane access and officers patrolling the campus would replace officers at security posts during off-peak hours. According to the Campus Safety email, staff will visit eight buildings twice a day and inspect the exterior and each floor of the building.

A member of the leadership of Local One, a New York University security service union, claims that a change in campus security campus led to an incident where an attacker entered one of the buildings. They also claimed that another time a student checked IDs in one of the buildings, which they called a rule violation collective agreement between Local One and NYU.

“Our main task now is the safety of students and teachers,” said the union leader. “We make a voice when we see such problems.”

A building administrator who is not a Campus Safety employee said that one Sunday in mid-February they had to close the security desk to open the building. Otherwise, they said, the building would only be accessible to students and faculty who had prior approval from the department.

“I’m happy to do it once, and I really feel like it will work out on its own,” they said. “How we got to this is a completely different question in itself. It looks like she’s wounded. “

If some of the buildings that house specialized equipment close, students in need of equipment cannot complete work on weekends, according to a security official.

Julia Merchan Jr. Steinhardt, who studies studio art and works as a student monitor at the Barney Building, said she was left with limited access to the jobs she needed. She noted that other observers changed their schedule and blocked the changes to avoid losing paid hours.

“Students as well as staff are certainly not happy with this change,” Merchan said. “For the first time, the monitors learned about the change of hours due to an e-mail sent to the entire major, even from their superiors later that day. It looks like no one really knew about the problem until the weekend was mostly on us. “

Another Steinhardt Jr., who studies studio art and works as a monitor, Elijah Chavez, was unable to enter the Barney building to work Feb. 6 and 12 due to reduced security over the weekend.

“I was very confused when you consider that there is a clear need for public safety on the campus of New York University,” Chavez said. “Apart from this recent incident, there have previously been public safety issues in the art studio building.”

Due to the reduction in overtime costs, the Barney building began to actively appeal to the New York University and campus security services to request an officer to cover the change over the weekend, Steinhardt’s director of art director Tammy Brown said in an e-mail from WSN. As of Feb. 23, student access to the building for the coming weekend has not yet been determined, depending on the presence of an officer.

Contact Carmo Moniz at [email protected]

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