Lost and found still raising concerns

It has been about five months since Campus Security’s new lost and found procedures were implemented, but there are still University of Calgary patrons who feel the bin system still has glitches to work out.

Jo-Ann Kobalt, who works on campus, was surprised when she was instructed to leave a cell phone in the MacEwan Student Centre’s lost and found bin last Thu., Sept. 8 after she and her co-workers tried to turn it in to Campus Security. There were three other cell phones in the bin at that time.

"It would have been so easy for anyone to walk off with one of those phones," said Kobalt. "We had dumped the contents of the bin on the ground and sorted through them while other people just walked on by."

With the new Lost and Found policies, only keys, purses, wallets and items valued over $1,000 are kept at the Campus Security office. All items valued under $1,000–including cell phones, textbooks, CD players and Palm Pilots–are to be left in MSC’s blue bin by the Info Booth.

It is not the indifference of Campus Security that leads to such a policy. These lost and found procedures are the product of budget cuts by the university.

"We used to have someone who would handle the thousands of articles a year that were turned into Campus Security," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz, who is sympathetic to students’ concerns regarding this issue. "But unfortunately, we don’t have the human resources anymore that could process all the items that come in."

The lack of security regarding articles left in the lost and found bin outside of the Students’ Union office is a source of frustration for SU President Jayna Gilchrist.

"Reception receives complaints at least every day or two from students who can’t find their items in the bin," said Gilchrist.

There had been talks last spring when the new lost and found procedures were being implemented for the SU to pick up the cost and management of the lost and found service. Gilchrist points out this would have been an extra burden on SU resources.

"We would have to hire additional staff, and designate a whole other area to handle it. This is not a service that could just be handled by reception," said Gilchrist. "Like Safewalk, there are some basic services that the university should be providing for its students, ones that shouldn’t be the student’s responsibility to fund."

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