A Quinnipiac University student discovered a video camera hidden in the shower of his residence hall last month and other students are demanding an explanation from the school.
Sophomore Doug Manners happened to look up into the grates of the shower of his Troup suite on February 6 and noticed something attached to the piping in the ceiling, in addition to red lights glaring down at him. The journalism major asked his roommate Matt Koltun to come and see what he found.
Koltun and Manners were curious, so they took the grate out of the ceiling to see what it was, and found what they assumed to be a video camera.
“The camera was connected to an adapter and an electrical cord that was running across the ceiling,” Manners said. “It connected into the electrical outlet over by the wall. Oppie, the RA who arrived a week before us, recently put in a surge protector with six extra plugs into the adapter in the wall above the bathroom mirror.”
They showed their RA and suitemate, Eric “Oppie” Oppegaard, who suggested that it could be a heat sensor. Oppegaard called Security and Safety after realizing it was not. A member of the Security office arrived within the hour and confiscated the camera. The three students said they then filed reports of the incident with the Security office.
“I was mad,” said David Scott, a sophomore computer science major and suitemate who found out about the incident later. “Initially, I was upset because it was a breach of privacy, especially if they had found any footage on the camera.”
Although they believe footage exists, students have not seen any.
“Everyone has, or should have, a right to privacy, especially in the shower,” said Nick Osborn, a sophomore public relations major who lives in Troup. “This is the highest form of invasion of privacy.”
On February 10, Oppegaard told two of his roommates he was resigning from his Resident Assistant position and would be moving out of the suite. The Chronicle tried contacting Oppegaard via e-mail and phone but he had not responded by deadline.
“[Oppegaard] only told me and Gary he was leaving,” Manners said. “I don’t know if he was forced to resign, or if he made the decision on his own.”
After curious residents hung up posters all over Troup asking, “Where is Oppie?” an e-mail from Residential Life was sent to Oppegaard’s former residents on Feb. 16, 10 days after the incident occurred and almost a week after Oppegaard moved from Troup. The e-mail read in part, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, Eric Oppegaard (Oppie) has resigned his position as the Resident Assistant in Troup 250…Thank you for your understanding and sensitivity in resolving this
“We didn’t know why he left,” said Kevin Hegarty, a sophomore biology education major who lives across the hall from the suite in which the camera was found. “We asked why and no one would tell us.”
Oppegaard is living in Village with new suitemates.
According to the Quinnipiac University Student Handbook, “The infringement on the right to privacy of any member of the community is prohibited.”
Many students are unhappy with how the situation was handled because of the insufficient information they received.
“What is the school going to do about this?” asked Kathleen Lambert, a sophomore physical therapy major who is dating one of the suitemates. “They need to come up with a better explanation for why they handled it like this. I really want to know why it happened like this. What happened was not directly Quinnipiac’s fault, but they should have responded completely differently.”
The Office of Residential Life and the office of Security and Safety were contacted via e-mail and declined to comment for this article.