The 1851 Market and bookstore have suffered from an unprecedented amount of theft this semester. On February 22, an email from Dean David Hennessey was sent to students alerting them of the excessive theft from both the market and bookstore. The market was closed temporarily as a result.
Associate Vice President of Operations Diane Parker has been shocked by the amount of thievery on campus. “I don’t know what is happening this year. It’s unusual. I’ve never experienced this and…coincidentally at the same time [theft] was happening at the market, the bookstore manager called and said, ‘I don’t know what is going on, but the shrinkage is amazing,’” Parker said. “I have been here 17 years, and I have never heard of the bookstore having issues with shrinkage.”
Parker was alerted by manager Jackie Morgan, who said shrinkage was higher than normal. “The university has security systems throughout the campus, as you probably know, but [not] within the walls of the stores,” Parker said. Parker added because the bookstore is run by Barnes & Noble, they are responsible for installing their own security systems.
Sophomore health science major Margaret Campbell was surprised to hear students had been stealing from the bookstore.
“There are employees there that should deter people from stealing and I feel like stealing from a school bookstore is so offensive,” Campbell said.
According to Parker, the security devices in the bookstore were set up “right after the email went out to the community.” When asked about the prior security systems in place in the bookstore, Parker said, “I’m not at liberty to chat about what they had in place, but it’s proprietary to Barnes & Noble.”
The 1851 Chronicle reached out to the bookstore and Barnes & Noble directly, but received no comment on the situation.
Investigations into the incidents at the bookstore and market are ongoing. According to Captain Robert Manning of the Lasell Police Department, the footage is still being reviewed.
“We’re still in the process of going through [the footage] because it’s a tedious process. But it’s a process of trying to match up available, what we call CCTV videos, footage, and camera angles, with card swipes and things like that. So it’s ongoing,” Manning said.
Manning confirmed that progress has been made in the market’s investigation, as some students can be identified, but not in the investigation into the bookstore theft.
Both Manning and Parker shared that Student Conduct Services would handle disciplinary actions against students. Since the review of footage is going at a slower pace, there have been delays in the disciplinary process as well.
“Right now, we don’t have a comprehensive list of names of students who were responsible,” said Scott Lamphere, Director of Residential Life and Coordinator of Student Conduct. “We’ve been able to identify just a couple folks, and those folks have been put on notice but we haven’t taken significant action against them… It feels unfair to go after two when we know that it’s close to 40 or 50 folks who… on multiple occasions were [stealing]. That’s sort of our dilemma,” said Lamphere.
While the 1851 Market will not reopen this semester, it has been relocated to Boomer’s Grill in Valentine Dining Hall. According to the Director of Dining Services Michael Quackenbush, “students are able to visually see everything available for purchase but all items are handed to them by an associate.”
Sophomore forensic science major Connor Parker does not like the market’s move to the dining hall, as it is harder to get a variety of foods when you need it.
“The market moving over to the dining hall makes it difficult to get food from the market which is supposed to be open 24 hours…but you can’t do that when [the market] is at the dining hall,” Parker said. “I don’t think I’ve seen one person use it in the dining hall.”
Sophomore fashion merchandising major Casey Salvatore agrees the market is in an inconvenient spot, but understands why it moved.
“It sucks that other people ruined it for the people that did pay. People who actually paid don’t get to have that privilege anymore and it isn’t open for late night use,” Salvatore said.
On the other hand, sophomore exercise science major Alexa Berkeley likes the market’s new location. “I think the market is in a better place now because [the dining hall] is such a popular place and every student will have the availability to use the market,” Berkeley said.
Despite the lack of convenience, Quackenbush and Parker confirmed there is a discussion about the future of the market for the upcoming semester to “offer the program in a more secure way,” said Quackenbush.
“We’re working with Chartwells on some solutions. One solution was something that works a little like a minibar does and a hotel room. Everything has an inventory tag on it and you swipe to open the cooler... The cooler opens and as soon as I lift something up and it goes by the barrier, it charges me,” Parker said. “So we’re looking at those types of solutions to give you all that convenience that you have come to expect and want, but also understanding that it’s not charity.”