Security Camera Policy

Custodian of Policy: Vice President of Finance & Administration

Effective Date: October 2017

Last Review: Fall 2017

Next Review: 2024


Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) uses security cameras as one resource to enhance the safety and security of persons and property. Additionally, security cameras may provide beneficial information for management and operations of MSUM. All security camera installations must be approved in advance by the Director of Public Safety and/or his/her designee as described in this policy; except in the case of an emergency that makes such consultation impractical. Placement and use of security cameras must conform to applicable state and federal laws in addition to Minnesota State system and campus policies. Security cameras must not have audio monitoring or audio recording capabilities enabled. Video monitoring of areas for security purposes will be limited to uses that do not violate the reasonable expectations of privacy, as defined by law.


This policy applies to all personnel and departments of MSUM in the use of their equipment for video surveillance, monitoring, and recording on MSUM-owned, leased or controlled properties; this policy does not apply to the use of video applications for academic, research or educational purposes of MSUM, or to security cameras installed by authorized financial institutions to monitor ATM machine usage on campus.


The primary purpose of security cameras is to assist in the daily operations of campus public safety and in providing a safe and secure environment to the MSUM community including students, employees, and visitors. Information obtained through video monitoring will be primarily used for security and law enforcement purposes. Information obtained through authorized surveillance may be used in support of disciplinary proceedings against MSUM personnel or students, or by MSUM for other appropriate purposes such as litigation.

The installation and monitoring of security cameras and equipment will be administered by the Director of Public Safety in a manner consistent with this policy. The Director may authorize the use of video surveillance in a temporary location upon request of a college official if a specific safety or security risk exists; if the request concerns the investigation of individuals, the Director shall consult with Minnesota State Office of General Counsel and/or human resources office or Labor Relations in the system office prior to approval. The Director shall consult with system legal counsel if requested by law enforcement to install video surveillance for a criminal investigation.

In public areas, signage giving notice of use of security cameras shall be posted as deemed appropriate by the Director of Public Safety.

If concern over camera placement should arise, concerned persons may submit a petition to the Director of Public Safety or the VP Finance & Administration for the removal or relocation of an existing camera. The VPFA will review petitions regarding camera location(s) and determine whether the policy is being followed. The VPFA will determine the appropriateness of an installation by weighing the concerns of the person(s) making the request and the safety and security of the entire community. The VPFA will weigh whether the potential increment in community security outweighs any likely infringement of individual privacy.


The following principles shall apply regarding the use of security cameras at MSUM under this policy:

  • All recording or monitoring of activities of individuals or groups by authorized MSUM security cameras will be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable system and MSUM policies, and will not be based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, gender identity or gender expression, disability, or other personal characteristics that are protected by Board Policy 1. B.1.
  • All recording or monitoring of video records will be conducted in a professional, ethical, and legal manner. Personnel with authorized access to video recordings shall receive a copy of this policy and will receive training on the effective, legal, and ethical use of the monitoring equipment upon assuming their role and at least annually thereafter.
  • All recording or monitoring for security and safety purposes shall be conducted only in areas where the public does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. (e.g., not living spaces).
  • Recorded images made by security cameras will be securely maintained by MSUM pursuant to its records retention schedule. The alteration of video images is strictly prohibited.

Limiting Use, Disclosure, and Retention of Recordings:

The Director of Public Safety is responsible for controlling access to the security cameras monitors and recordings consistent with applicable privacy laws. Security camera data maintained by MSUM may be nonpublic or private data for individuals under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). (Video surveillance data may be nonpublic or private “security information” as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.37 Subd. 1 (a) or private personnel or educational data pursuant to Minn. Stat. §§13.43, Subd. 4 and 13.32, Subd. 3, and FERPA, 20 USC 1232g, which may be accessed, used and disclosed to third parties only as consistent with those laws.)

Nothing in this policy shall prevent reporting to law enforcement real-time observations of conduct that appears to constitute criminal activity.

Recorded images will be stored in a secure location with access by authorized personnel only. A log shall be created by the Director of Public Safety and maintained by authorized designees(s) of all instances of access to or use of surveillance records. The log shall include the date and identification of the person or persons to whom access was granted.

Security camera data shall be maintained with appropriate security in accordance with the MSUM records retention schedule, and will then be destroyed in a secure manner, unless retained as part of a MSUM proceeding, a criminal investigation, a court proceeding (criminal or civil), or other use as approved by the Director of Public Safety.

The Director of Public Safety is responsible for securely retaining any surveillance data, including a video recording, which may be required for evidentiary purposes. If a copy of a recording is required for evidentiary purposes, campus personnel shall consult with the Minnesota State Office of General Counsel or the Attorney General’s Office on protocols that may be required for authentication or other purposes and shall use a permanent storage device such as a CD, DVD or USB drive and physically label the device with the date, time and location of the recorded incident. No video footage segments or individual image copies, other than those required for system backup or evidentiary purposes may be made, shared, or distributed without specific authorization/approval as stated above


Any individual who has concerns about the possible violation of this policy may discuss the matter with the Director of Public Safety or the VP Finance & Administration. Any individual found to have violated this policy may be referred for discipline under the applicable personnel or student conduct process.

Individuals who are believed to have tampered with or destroyed security camera equipment or recordings, or individuals who have accessed security camera records without authorization may be subject to discipline under the applicable personnel or student conduct process and criminal prosecution, as appropriate.