By RACHEL MANNING
On April 7, it was discovered that a PreSonus audio box had been stolen from the vocal booth in the Multimedia Editing Lab on the bottom floor of the Hurley Convergence Center. This item, which is used to connect a microphone to a computer, is valued at about $90.
“We have another one, we have a few of them, but we’re waiting to make sure we have some way to secure it better before we put it back,” said HCC and Digital Auditorium manager Cartland Berge. The vocal booth has been partially out of service since the audio box was stolen.
Berge plans to return the vocal booth to full operation as soon as the HCC staff can install a security cable, which will make stealing the audio box much more difficult. This security cable would lock onto the device and then wrap around something that’s stationary, such as a table or pillar, so that the item cannot be removed from the premises.
Without this item, students have no way to connect high-end microphones into their computers, since those microphones are designed to plug into devices such as the audio box and therefore, they are not compatible with USB ports. Students must plug lower-quality USB microphones directly into their computers, which can diminish the sound quality of their project.
This has been frustrating to students, no matter whether they need the vocal booth for. “It sucks that people can’t be trusted,” said senior communications and digital studies major Kimberly Carbajo. “Maybe there should be more security about who can go [to the vocal booth].”
She recommends a room reservation system that would require people to go to the front desk and pick up a key so they can open the door. Once a student is finished using the vocal booth, they would then lock the door again and return the key to the front desk.
As effective and well-thought-out as this plan may be, Berge is more focused on preserving the open and friendly atmosphere of the convergence center.
“Every now and then, small pieces of equipment go missing; a mouse or something,” Berge said. “It’s very rare that something larger like this disappears but, that sort of thing can happen.”
Berge expressed vexation in constantly having to deal with minor pieces of equipment going missing, such as markers for the white boards. “It’s frustrating, but it is something you have to deal with when you want a facility to be freely accessible to people,” Berge said. The HCC staff doesn’t want to lock things down so tightly that people can’t use them.
“[The audio box] is not that expensive of a piece of equipment,” Berge said. “It’s not that difficult to replace.”
The investigation into the theft is slow-going, especially since the UMW Police were only notified of the theft on April 14. “We’ve gone to look at the records of who’s swiped in but there have been a lot of people in and out of the rooms so it’s hard to pin it down and we don’t want to accuse anybody unnecessarily,” Berge said, regarding the investigation process.
While it is unfortunate that a member of the UMW community would steal from the school, theft has not become a widespread problem. However, certain preventative measures, such as the installation of the security cable, must be put into practice. For now the convergence center staff has to concentrate on ensuring that students have the necessary access to audio equipment in order to excel in their classes.