North Carolina State U. Officials Put Cameras Inside Frat Houses to Watch Students

The university defended the cameras as an important aspect of safety policy


Public Domain

North Carolina State University is treating its students like zoo animals. The administration installed video cameras in several fraternities—ostensibly for security reasons, but students residing in one of the houses have complained that the cameras can see into their living space.

NCSU's security plan requires cameras at the entrances to all buildings on university property, which includes several fraternities, according to Campus Reform.

But in at least one of the houses, there are cameras in common areas that can see into private living spaces. The students living in the house are concerned that the angles of some of the cameras make it possible for university officials to see into their bedrooms.

This is such an obvious and appalling violation of students' privacy rights, I'm shocked that university administrators would bother trying to defend it. But defend it they did.

"Video cameras are a part of the university's security plan designed for the protection of students," a spokesperson told Campus Reform. He made assurances that the cameras were "zoomed out" so that they aren't actually a bother to anyone.

Brothers at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house took matters into their own hands and covered up some of the cameras. In response, the administration demanded to know the names of the perpetrators so that they could be reported for violating the code of conduct.

The university's behavior is disgusting. While fraternity houses occasionally play host to sexual violence and lawbreaking, that's no excuse for routinely depriving fraternity members of their privacy. Indeed, the idea that university officials can watch these guys all day long is more than a little perverse.

If sorority sisters were the targets of this kind of spying, I suspect everyone would immediately recognize the policy as akin to sexual harassment (the Title IX accusations would surely fly). The fact that some young men are the victims here should make absolutely no difference.

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  1. Title IX complaint. C’mon, frat boys, file it. If they have cameras in your houses for “security reasons”, and not in the sororities (I assume they have both there, don’t know), its a laydown win.

    1. Grab it’s fucking Title IX violation!

    2. Meh, for historical reasons sororities are not really just female versions of fraternities; they are fundamentally different institutions. For instance, sororities do not live in party “houses” but in “apartments” where alcohol is not permitted on premises; they rely on fraternity cohosts and other outside spaces for their social events. I think this does mean they are less likely to be on campus (my own alma mater had an extensive but completely nominally “unofficial” Greek system where all organizations were off campus). But it almost certainly means the administration considers itself to have plenty excuse to consider them causes for different types of administration in any case. Certainly, in their minds at least, with respect to the appropriateness of monitoring common areas.

      I think the nature of the relationship between the fraternities and administration will probably determine how much of a case the fraternities have. If the school can claim they are basically just special-purpose university dorms and the common areas are (albeit not completely open-access) living spaces, the boys might not win. In any case they might find it unwise to push back on this; the universities could always comply with a court defeat in a way that makes it even harder on them. They could, for example, turn the house halls into public access spaces if that turns out to be a sticking point; or, push come to shove, they can always ban Greek organizations or reclaim their housing.

      1. Yeah. Frat boys should just bend over a take it.

        Thank you sir, may I have another.

        1. Ooo, you tease! I’ll grab my paddle; it’s been collecting dust since my junior year run as PledgeEd.

        2. Jesse approves this message.

      2. I suspect you’re right, Diego. But forcing the University to publicly justify differential treatment for frats and sororities in the context of claiming it doesn’t discriminate against either would be worth it.

        However, if the frats and sororities are both subject to the same rule on surveillance, I still think the University will have a very hard time winning an argument that two facilities subject to the same policy can and should be treated differently because one is men and the other women.

        A competent Title IX administrator will be very reluctant to blow open a “loophole” like that. The precedent it sets would allow every demand for “equality” to met with an argument that differences in the particular circumstance justify different treatment.

        1. You make a good point. But I do think that the operational differences between fraternities and sororities may be enough for a university to say that they are open to a female organization with a “fraternity”-style M.O. or vice versa, and in that event they would naturally be subject to the M.O.-based and not sex-based treatment. I don’t know whether the presence of gender-specific language in current policy, as indeed there probably is, would hinder their ability to simply change to gender-neutral language to comply with Title IX, or whether it would make that kind of move judged inadequate. This case brings up all kinds of interesting issues, and I hope to learn more about it.
          One important thing to keep in mind, however, is of course that the brothers themselves (to say nothing of national offices, which have interests all their own) are really out just to preserve what they can as much as possible. Unless YAL or something forms their own fraternity (can you imagine how Mr. Yiannopolous would react at the prospect of being drafted to help design a Greek organization from scratch?) they are not going to be out to be a test case for abstract justice.

  2. While fraternity houses occasionally play host to sexual violence and lawbreaking…

    Is there video evidence of this???

    1. All frat houses are like Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. It’s a known fact.

      1. My friends lived next door to a former chapter president who was a grad student when they knew him. He’d get drunk and talk about all of the stupid violent shit that that particular chapter did. I actually don’t think it is particularly different from any other setting involving 30 dudes, alcohol, and hazing, but people did get hurt. But he also introduced us to the current leadership, and since the house was a block from the apartment, they got a standing invite to open parties.

      2. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life.

        1. now fat, drunk and intelligent, that’s my jam.

          1. I’m angling for athletic, drunk and charming.

      3. In my (limited) experience, they all seemed at least to aspire to that.

    2. They can’t answer; ‘batin.

    3. I knew it. I knew that would be the sentence to be jumped on.

    4. You are probably one of those filthy leg grabbers! While wearing a clown costumer, I would wager…

    5. Who needs video when you can just read about it in Rolling Stone.

      1. OT: I’m in DC lecturing at a medical conference, and the conference hotel is just a block away from the Reason DC offices. So just now I decided to knock on their door, and they couldn’t have been nicer. I got a nice tour, and then, who came up and gave me a Reason gift bag — but Katherine Mangu-Ward herself!

        She’s very nice and even prettier in real life than she is on Stossel. We had a very brief chat. She shook my hand, and now I may never wash it again.

        1. Is her hair still Purple? Or did she have to straighten up and fly right after kicking Welch down the road?

          1. Yes, bright purple. All pulled back today, in a “hard-working ” look.

            1. AWESOME!

              Did you get pics? Did she show you the closet full of Jackets?

              1. Shoulda gotten a picture but I already probably seemed enough of a fawning nerd.

                But I did momentarily forget Nick’s name and called him “The Jacket.” K M-U smiled and said it’s ok to call him that.

                1. That is so awesome.

                2. K M-U smiled and said it’s ok to call him that.

                  1. Huh, my LOL got swallowed.

                    Did they show you the hamsters running this website?

                3. Did you tell her you were a commenter? Did they ask you which one? Or rather, which one you were not?

                  1. I didn’t get a chance to say who I was, but did say that I was on HnR.

                    They did say they knew of a local DC-area commenter who goes by “John” who gets off on morbidly obese women.

          2. Who cares about Katherine’s hair? Did you tousle Robby’s hair?

        2. Did you ask her about Lucy?

          1. No, there’s a big sign in the elevator before you get to their offices that says “Don’t talk about Lucy” in big spray-paint stencil lettering.

            1. That’s odd. I had heard there was a decommissioned leather jacket in a glass case spray painted Jokes on You Nick!

          2. WE DON’T TALK ABOUT HER!

        3. Thou shalt be The King of Commenters For the Year. Now just step over the dismembered corpse of the last year’s king…

          1. Is that what happened to Irish?

        4. I got a nice tour

          “…pay no attention to the sounds you might hear from…. “that” room ” (gestures towards door labeled “Intern Indoctrination”)…

          1. I figured Reason would be culturally literate and label it ‘101’.

    6. While fraternity houses occasionally play host to sexual violence and lawbreaking…

      As written, that sounds like every frat hosts rapes.

      Sure you want to go with that, on account of the vast majority never have?

      1. It’s ambiguous at worst. I didn’t think it sounded that way at all until I read your comment.

        But I guess I’m the weirdo who doesn’t automatically assume the worst reading of everything I see.

        1. I don’t think its ambiguous at all.

          Its a statement about frat houses. Not “some”, not “safe”, but about about the class of all frat houses.

          Probably didn’t mean it that way (probably), but that’s what is on the page.

          Hyper-literal? Maybe, but to me hyper-literalism involves a certain amount of taking out of context. The rest of the article is sufficiently not fratphobic that I could see this reading being hyper-literal.

          1. Like I said: I’m probably the weirdo.

      2. Sure you want to go with that, on account of the vast majority never have?

        Well, like 90% of sex is rape, and lots of people have sex in frats. Therefore, rape culture!

        /3rd wave feminism

        1. Well, like 90% of sex is rape

          Does 90% of sex involve a penis?

          Sounds like a valid 3rd wave stat, then.

          1. I would say no, considering like 50% of sex involves a cloaca.

    7. I would hope most fraternities don’t play host to sexual violence.

      On the other hand, if they aren’t routinely breaking underage drinking and pot smoking laws, they should be decertified as fraternities.

      1. I can confirm that there is routine lawbreaking in fraternities generally.

        Of course, there’s routine lawbreaking everywhere these days.

        1. 18 year olds and 21 year olds living together? They don’t share alcohol. That would be illegal.

        2. I can confirm that back when I was in college there was plenty of underage drinking in pot smoking going on in the off campus housing, as well as in the dorms.

          It is almost like a certain amount of debauchery can be expected amongst young adults, regardless of their housing arrangements.

          1. Smoking definitely happened in dorms. Drinking is the easiest.
            everyone thinks its water

  3. Either cut the cable or put a sock over the camera housing. or move off campus.

    1. I can’t speak for other Campuses, but the University of California’s greek system is off campus.

      My fraternity owned the deed to our house.

      1. Frat guys = people who have to pay to get friends

        1. I’m really sorry about rush week.

          1. I never got the strawberry out of my ass. It just dissolved up there.

            1. And you’ve been eating strawberries that way ever since?

              1. It’s great for dehydration.

      2. Yeah it seems weird to me that frats would have facilities on campus.

    2. move off campus

      This cannot be overemphasized.

    3. I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around the city, keeping its speed over fifty, and if its speed dropped, it would explode! I think it was called “The Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down.”

      1. This is just like Speed 2, only its on a bus instead of a boat!

  4. As seen in the AM Links #nohattipmakesmesad #eventhoughIjustcribbedthisfromsomewherelse

  5. North Carolina State University is treating its students like zoo animals.

    Clearly, someone’s never seen Animal House.

  6. The administration installed video cameras in several fraternities

    Can I get a Title IX lawsuit to have them installed into sororities as well?

    1. Yes, and the fraternities on campus should put in a freedom of information request to access the any videos stored, as well.

    2. Talk to Hugo Schwyzer, he can probably help say the exact right things to make that happen.

  7. But they need cameras to show the rapes that happen on a daily basis in every frat house in America!

  8. Frat boy cam – when will we hear from jesse, et al on this?

    1. They are some confused m———-s. Stay far away.

      1. Stay far away. Always stick it in crazy.

      2. Wouldn’t cameras be a good, safe way to stay far away while seeing the good bits?

  9. Indeed, the idea that university officials can watch these guys all day long is more than a little perverse.

    “More than a little?” You couldn’t just write “it is perverse.” No, you couldn’t, could you, Soave? Just another line of qualifying bullshit.

    1. I mean, we’re all a little curious…right?

      1. I’m not curious about a group of men having their rights violated because of a group they belong to, you sick fuck.

        1. Not even a little?

          1. I’m outraged about Soave’s carelessness, not some silly sexual remark.

            1. Technically “more than a little” isn’t a mitigating statement its an amplifying one.

        2. #fratlivesmatter

          1. #privatelivesmatter

        3. men have no rights, patriarchist…

  10. Video cameras are a part of the university’s security plan designed for the protection of students,” a spokesperson told Campus Reform. He made assurances that the cameras were “zoomed out” so that they aren’t actually a bother to anyone.

    Okay. And I assume the College President lives on campus. I’m just waiting to hear about the camera being installed in his or her residence.

    1. Yeah, I bet he lives in a university owned building.

      1. Most do.

    2. The sad part is, he’d prolly allow it.

      You’ve got nothing to fear if you aren’t doing anything wrong.

  11. “Some of the angles see into the bedrooms”, well, where are these rapes most likely to take place? The cameras either show every square inch of property or they are not properly documenting the rapeyness.

    1. Soon they’ll publish a study showing that 90% of rapes happen out of range of the cameras.

      1. We just need more cameras. And bigger ones!

        1. GoPro for every male student!

  12. All men are rapists.

  13. How long before some female student or staff at NC State sees a frat boy’s junk on one of these videos and files a Title IX complaint?

    1. Sounds like a stretch, even for title IX complaints.

      But I am routinely surprised by the levels of idiocy that people can plumb.

    2. Now I’m thinking the frat bros should print out some pictures from the internet, and tape them up so all the cameras can see is junk and balls.

      1. If the fratties i knew in college are any indication, there’ll probably be a rash of bros who are just naked all the time when they’re in the frathouse.

        On second thought, i’m not sure i want to have used the word “rash” there.

  14. The fact that some young men are the victims here should make absolutely no difference.

    Ahh but it does, young Robert…. It most assuredly does.

  15. disgusting.

    Oh come on, you haven’t even used your “Vile” quota for the week.

    I’d think given the kind of behavior you’ve already seen from colleges over hundreds of these stories… would make this example “predictable” rather than particularly nauseating.

    Besides: if the frats down own the property, who are they to whine about “privacy”? I seem to recall that Reason had an editorial view that “Privacy” is sort of over-rated, and only seem to think it matters in certain instances, but not in others. When its the NSA having the 4th amendment explained to them, yay! when it “hurts press freedom” or puts handcuffs on Big Data, boo. Something like that.

    1. if the frats don’t own the property…

    2. if the frats down own the property, who are they to whine about “privacy”?

      If they lease or rent the property, they should have the same expectation of privacy as if they owned it, particularly in bedrooms.

      1. If they lease or rent the property, they should have the same expectation of privacy as if they owned it, particularly in bedrooms.

        At least the expectation of privacy that any tenant or renter has. I don’t think any other landlord could get by with putting surveillance cameras in their rental properties. If so, there’s a new wave of voyeurism coming up.

      2. Do you know if that’s actually the case?

        i think, if we want to get all lawyerly, that if your landlord is a public-institution like a university, that the expectation would be arguably different than if your landlord was a private citizen offering a domicile for rent. What with the whole “In Loco Parentis” role of universities, etc.

        1. So if I shit at the public library, they can film it?

          1. Libraries don’t have any In Loco Parentis role i’m aware of.

            I’m aware that universities had a lot of their former ILP authority stripped in the 1960s, but it wasn’t so much a compete destruction of the idea, so much as being downgraded slightly. I think mainly in regulating drinking, stuff like that, they’ve been allowed a great deal of latitude.

            1. e.g.

              In Mullins v. Pine Manor College (1983)… a female college student… was raped on campus & filed a personal injury action against the college for not taking reasonable steps to protect her from the attack. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held for the student, reasoning, in part:

              “Of course, changes in college life, reflected in the general decline of the theory that a college stands in loco parentis to its students, arguably cut against this view. The fact that a college need not police the morals of its resident students, however, does not entitle it to abandon any effort to ensure their physical safety. Parents, students, and the general community still have a reasonable expectation, fostered in part by colleges themselves, that reasonable care will be exercised to protect resident students from foreseeable harm.

              Mullins v. Pine Manor College 1983, p. 52

              1. In another case, Furek v. University of Delaware (1991), a student, Jeffrey Furek, sued the University of Delaware for negligence after receiving serious chemical burns as a result of a hazing incident at a fraternity. Delaware Supreme Court (1983), held:

                “In sum, although the University no longer stands in loco parentis to its students, the relationship is sufficiently close and direct to impose a duty [for tort analysis purposes]. The university is not an insurer of the safety of its students nor a policeman of student morality, nonetheless, it has a duty to regulate and supervise foreseeable dangerous activities occurring on its property

                Furek v. University of Delaware, 1991

          2. Are you shitting in the history section?

        2. I would like to see whether in loco parentis really is interpreted by the courts to allow this sort of surveillance. If so, it would demonstrate how far down the infantilizationdrain we’ve gone. I can comprehend the sense of a camera monitoring a baby in a crib, but a college student in a dorm, sorority or frat house?

        3. Do you know if that’s actually the case?

          Well, not really. Which is why I say “should have”. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure cameras in bedrooms do violate whatever expectation of privacy they do have.

          What with the whole “In Loco Parentis” role of universities,

          Yeah, what the fuck is that about? Aren’t college students, you know, adults?

      3. Leases all have “quiet enjoyment” clauses. 24/7 video surveillance of the interior would be in breach of those clauses.

        Now, if a state university wants to engage in surveillance of private living areas, I think its going to have some “get a warrant” problems.

        A private university could maybe get away with it, but even there I think it would have to warn people before they move in.

  16. They did put some in the sororities. Read your own link Soave.

    1. So these days, John Belushi could have avoided that ladder mishap.

    2. Even better for Title IX purposes – compare the cameras they installed in the sororities to those in the frats. Any difference in number, placement, coverage, and bang – Title IX claim.

  17. Id be setting up fun scenes all over the house. Set up a fake murder and then time how long it takes till people show up in thr morning.

    1. Id be setting up fun scenes all over the house. Set up a fake murder and then time how long it takes till people show up in thr morning.


      Oh, man, that’s hilarious. stage a Satanic Human Sacrifice… large-scale Drug Deals…. people ripping tags of mattresses…. unlicensed gambling…

      … basically, force them into a position where they’re either enforcing their own stupid College-Panopticon… or they’re forced to take them down, admitting that they serve no actual security purpose.

      if people are forced to recognize that these cameras are just security theater, which violates privacy under the false claim of providing some added-value…

      1. Exactly. Ok, so the college wants to make sure we’re safe. So we covered the camera and then faked a mass murder with all the pledges.

      2. (never finished that last sentence)…

        … the general public will realize that that they’re constantly being asked to give up something for nothing.

        1. More like, they will realize that they are being asked to give up something for nothing, also realize they are being asked to give up something for someone else, not care, and continue to let it happen.

      3. Dogs and cats living together….

  18. “like zoo animals”

    Why do you think they called it Animal House?

  19. “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself — anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newyorkspeak: facecrime, it was called.”

    1. Sounding less and less like fiction all the time.

      1. No shit. I thought 1984 was a dystopian novel, not a procedures manual.

        1. Eh, it was a satire of what was happening over in Soviet Union* at the time. A lot of shit (listening devices, children denouncing parents, on-the-fly diplomacy switches with corresponding shifts in expected behavior, destruction of private life, weird sexual puritanism, Newspeak, random-seeming nature of arrests) is just describing real events. Probably part of the reason why it stuck such a chord.

          *yes, I know, rationing, Ministry of Truth and such are based on UK’s post-war experience, and Orwell’s work at BBC and so on.

          1. Whether it was based on real events at the time or not, Orwell at least deeply understood human nature and the power of the State.

          2. One key feature of satire is exaggeration. We are rapidly bridging the gap between what Orwell saw and what he imagined.

  20. This is patently absurd. Everyone knows that SAE is the rapey house.

    1. Cocksucker motherfucker eat a bag of shit!
      Cunt hair douche bag suck your mother’s tit!
      We’re the best fraternity and all the others suck!
      Sigma Alpha Epsilon roo rah fuck!

  21. Actually the one thing everyone seems to be missing here is that fratboys not generally coming from the cult of the perpetually aggrieved they probably don’t see themselves as “victims” here and they range from being mildly annoyed to taking a fuck you I’m going to make you regret that decision attitude

    1. fratboys not generally coming from the cult of the perpetually aggrieved

      just wait.

  22. “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. … The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. … The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

  23. Why not put shock collars on them

  24. These cameras are in the sorority houses as well. They said they were only pointed at the doors, but they also told the fraternity that so who actually knows what they can see. We asked for them to be taken out but they won’t.

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