By Вen Li
Students and others on campus may be disappointed that their lost possessions will no longer be guarded. Because of campus-wide budget downsizing, Campus Security has stopped collecting found items valued at $1,000 or less, according to Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz.
“The U of C for many years has provided a lost and found service for students, but it’s not a critical service,” he said. “We’re going through restructuring like every other department on campus, and unfortunately lost and found is not a so-called ‘critical service.’”
Student leaders were disappointed with the decision to relegate less valuable items to a bin in a public area in MacEwan Students’ Centre.
“We’ve always had lots of inquiries regarding lost and found,” said Students’ Union President Jayna Gilchrist of the SU offices. “It’s not the monetary costs but people who are upset.”
The SU has been telling students to direct their comments to Fritz and to University of Calgary President Harvey Weingarten.
Fritz said that because of personnel reductions, Campus Security is unable to keep up with the volume of people looking for lost articles.
“In reality, we handle up to 50-60 lost article inquiries a day,” he said. “We’ve created an expectation of providing a lost and found service but have not instilled upon the community the cost of that service.”
According to Fritz, Campus Security handled approximately 10,000 items last year through lost and found. This year, he expects a reduction since only wallets, purses, keys and items over $1,000 will be taken in. He notes that certain departments and other offices will continue to provide limited lost and found services.
“There’s a little bit of a sense of disappointment,” he said of reaction to the change. “People resist change. It will take time for the community to appreciate why we have to make these changes.
“The university is going through a time of dealing with shrinking resources,” he said. “Where we have to reduce our nice-to-do services and reallocate those resources to critical areas in an effort to manage our campus effectively and responsibly with a minimal adverse effect on our community.”