The ram statue in Crocker Grove is now under video surveillance because of concerns about student conduct and safety, according to Sergeant Martin Laughlin of the Framingham State University Police Department.
A sign informing the public about the 24-hour surveillance was installed in front of the statue over the summer.
The camera was placed there in the last six months and the equipment is about a year old, said Laughlin.
President Javier Cevallos said the camera used has been part of the University’s campus security system “for a while.” The sign, however, “is more recent, but the cost is probably very small.”
Dale Hamel, executive vice president, said, “The proposal for a camera in this area had been one that was identified even prior to the installation of the statue. Increased activity in this area has resulted in a safety concern, and that supported approval of the funding request” for a camera.
According to Laughlin, the security camera is located on the side of Crocker Hall. Even though the camera is “focused on the ram,” it also overlooks the walkways.
“We just want to ensure the safety of every faculty member, every student on campus itself,” he said.
Over the past year, the ram statue has been the focus of student hijinks, according to FSUPD and students. Shenanigans include, but are not limited to, sitting on the ram’s back for photos and rubbing its genitals.
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said they believed they started the newfound tradition of squeezing the ram’s genitals for good luck during RA training last year.
Junior Jack Nephew said he started the tradition during cross-country pre-season last summer.
He added many colleges and universities have similar traditions with campus landmarks. For example, at Michigan State, if a student steps on the big “M” seal, they have to touch the statue of the founder within 10 seconds or they won’t graduate.
Laughlin said because the statue is elevated and surrounded by rocks, campus police do not “want people hopping on it.”
He added, “In the past, we did have some intoxicated students who tried hopping up there. … We just don’t want anybody to get hurt.”
A number of students on campus can name at least one person who mounted the ram.
Junior Amy Dauksevicz said she took a picture sitting on the Sam the Ram statue last year and accidently ripped her pants.
“It was like karma,” she said.
Junior Julia Nee said she was falsely accused of stealing a scarf off the ram statue last semester. She said was called down to the police station, where an officer questioned her insisting that the scarf was “our president’s most prized possession.”
Nee never filed a complaint because she “didn’t think anyone would have done anything about this.”
She thinks it is “absolutely stupid that they put a camera to watch over this ‘precious ram.’
“I think that there are more things to worry about than someone stealing an already overpriced, unnecessary scarf off of the ram,” she said.
Black and Gold Beginnings leader Thalia Jimenez, a senior, was filmed climbing the ram statue and sitting on its back in this year’s orientation video.
Jimenez said she thinks the school is trying to protect the ram and “the camera is a starting point for students to understand that the ram statue is the school’s possession and should be treated with respect.”
Although the ram was never vandalized, a camera could potentially stop students from defacing it, she said.
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said they understood why the school would want surveillance of the ram statue. He a spoke about a past incident, stating, “If a group of students’ pet hamster were to die and they were to bury it in a can of ‘Natty Light’ in the mulch underneath the ram, then that hypothetical scenario might be something that they don’t want to happen in the future.”