So, I’m posting this first post after our European vacation (which was quite nice, by the way) at 3:30/4:30 in the morning because a) I’m all confused as to what time it actually should be (I think about 10 pm?), and, more importantly, b) I’m upset because, sometime between Friday (or so) and Monday, someone broke into my office, clipped the security cable on the Mac Mini that was on my desk, and walked away with our server. Apparently, there were some other computers stolen in the building, too.
Now, I am upset for all sorts of obvious reasons. We (meaning not just me but other folks in the writing program) had a chunk of teaching, scholarly, and administrative-type work on that computer. It was nothing I would describe as “irreplaceable,” but it was still a lot of work that we aren’t likely to ever get back. And I (“we,” if I count my other tech-geek colleagues who have been using ther server) hadn’t gotten around to backing the server up yet, in large part because we hadn’t gotten to the stage of things of figuring out just how and what to back up yet.
In the end, we will get a computer/server back in place to replace this one. This will ultimately be a blip on our use of a server in the department. But what bothers me most I think is how this exemplifies how completely piss-poor security is in the building where I work and how the institution seems unable/unwilling to do anything about it. The fact of the matter is this is not the first computer to go walking, nor is it the first one to go walking out of a locked faculty member’s office.
And what pisses me off about this is that the attitude around EMU seems to be “well, these things happen.” and doesn’t seem to do anything about it.
Now, I haven’t been to school yet to hear what the arguments/excuses are about all this, but I guess the first thing campus “security” would say is that there are lots of different people who have keys to these rooms: former employees, janitors, current employees, etc.. Fair enough, and I also understand that there are many somewhat random, “crimes of opportunity” that take place in Pray-Harrold. I know that laptops and wallets and other things have been stolen out of offices– which is why I never ever leave my office door unlocked or open, even when I go to get something from the main office, and why I would never ever leave my laptop in my office overnight.
So sure, with a building as big and as open as Pray-Harrold, things are going to occassionally turn up missing. But this was no random theft. Someone had to specifically know that in my office on that particular spot on my desk was a computer that they could tuck discreetly away in a bag. I mean, it’s a little computer; it’s not easy to notice. Further, the cable was (apparently– I’ll see it later today) cut, which suggests to me a high degree of planning. In other words, since I am guessing that the thief is not someone reading this blog or another faculty member in the English department, I would argue that someone knew exactly what they were doing, meaning that the person who took this computer had to be someone who had regular and easy access to my office at night.
(And btw, if the thief is reading this blog and steal this computer, please do me a favor and give it back. Just put it back in there the same way you got it out; no questions asked.)
To me, the obvious suspects are the janitors. I’m not saying that that’s who did it, but you’d think that’d be the first person to ask at least. If nothing else, it would give you some names of people who were in/had access to the room at the time the computer was stolen. That is, if campus “security” were to actually do any sort of investigation about this sort of thing. God forbid.
But what is potentially more problematic to me is if it really is was what would be called a random act, a just one of those shrug-of-the-shoulders kinds of things. If that’s the case, what can I “just leave” in my office and not worry about? My desktop computer was right next to the server that was stolen; what would have prevented them from taking two computers? I realize that most breaking-and-entering sorts of people are unlikely to be interested in my books on rhetorical theory or technology, let alone my extensive snowglobe collection and other miscellaneous items that give my office, er, “personality.” But what’s to stop someone from coming in there and just trashing the place on a lark?
In other words, if leaving official school property (e.g., a computer chained to a desk) in a locked faculty office isn’t safe, then what can I leave in there? And why the hell isn’t it safe?
Jeesh. I’ll try to go back to sleep for a while. And then once school gets going, I guess I’ll have to think/rethink what to leave at school and what to leave at home.