Bookstore tightens security

By Joelle McGinnis

An electronic security system for the Holmes Student Center Bookstore has been selected and is in the process of being ordered in an attempt to curb bookstore shrinkage.

Materials Management Director J. Donald Widick said the security system should be received in 30 to 60 days and should be installed sometime after that.

The security system, from the Dayton, Ohio, firm Monarch Marketing, will cost $30,253, Widick said.

Holmes Student Center Director Marlin Tenboer said money to purchase the security system will be charged to the bookstore.

Bookstore Manager Stanley Shedaker said the security system is similar to the one installed in Founders’ Memorial Library. Items will be marked with an electronic tagging system which must be desensitized before leaving the bookstore, he said.

Students must pass through the detection gates upon entering and exiting the bookstore, Shedaker said.

“There is no perfect technology for everything. There is one (system) that might work better for books and another that would be better for merchandise, but I think we have found the best combination,” he said.

Tenboer said specifications for the security system were decided by the bookstore staff. The specifications were sent to the materials management department, which used them to consider the bids received, he said.

Widick said bids were accepted from Monarch Marketing and Checkpoint System Inc., Thorofare, N.J. A third company also submitted a bid, but it did not meet desired specifications, he said.

The lowest bid was accepted and sent to the Board of Regents for approval.

John Pembroke, Board of Regents vice chancellor for administrative affairs, said the motion to order the security system was brought before the Board of Regents staff on March 1 and met with staff concurrence.

“Purchases involving $25,000 to $100,000 must first come to the Regents’ Chancellor’s Office for review and concurrence,” Pembroke said.

Shedaker said, “I realized that following people wasn’t the answer back in August,” but he does not think bookstore security will be perfect with the new security system alone.

Success for the new system “still hangs on the apprehension of shoplifters and how the administration decides to punish people.”

Attention was brought to bookstore security after an incident in January in which four students were accused of shoplifting.

In addition to the installation of the security system, one of the university’s attempts to resolve the incident was the formation of an investigation committee.

William Parker, bookstore investigation committee chairman, said the six-member committee has met in closed sessions every week since its formation in February.

Parker declined to comment when a final report would be released or how many people the committee still has left to investigate.

The committee planned to interview students involved in the bookstore incident, bookstore staff and other individuals on campus.

“We hope we are getting to the point where we have talked to all the people we need to meet with,” Parker said.