By Nick Sabatini
The other night, I went to the library to study. I stayed there until late at night, which is normal for me. When I left the library to walk back to my dorm alone in the dark, a blue Campus Safety pickup casually cruised by me in front of Howard.
For many students, their encounters with Campus Safety do not go beyond this. In fact, there were only two times I ever went to Campus Safety: once to have my picture taken for my student ID and once to hole punch it because I forgot to do so while I was there. LC, although not crime free, is generally considered a safe campus. Most incidents tend to be minor; Campus Safety certainly never gets involved in high speed chases or armed robberies like the ones you see on television. This brings up the question: if they receive so little action, what is really the purpose of Campus Safety, and what should it be?
Campus Safety may be controversial for some students. Despite the fact that it’s annoying to be busted by Campus Safety, at the end of the day they are just doing their job. When we agree to go to LC, we are agreeing to follow their rules. If we do not agree with those terms, then it is the job of the students to come together and change that. Meanwhile, somebody needs to enforce not only the school policies, but the law as well. Though imperfect, Campus Safety exists for our own benefit. Policies and laws exist to keep us safe, so a violation in either one would jeopardize our wellbeing.
Of course, Campus Safety is not perfect. Students do get in trouble for being in possession of marijuana even if they are over 21 years of age. The fourth amendment does not apply to private institutions like LC, so this gives Campus Safety more freedom than the police. It is important that Campus Safety does not take advantage of this freedom, and if they are to confiscate things, they should have a perfectly valid reason to do so.
Additionally, there are over 30 security cameras on LC’s campus. The footage on these security cameras are only reviewed if a situation arises. The problem with security cameras are that they give the illusion that students are being watched 24/7. Because of this, it is important to only have security cameras in places like Templeton that receive heavy traffic. Anywhere else will make students feel like they cannot escape being watched.
With over 2,000 students enrolled, LC may not be a large college, but it is still the size of a small town. Does this mean that Campus Safety plays the same role as the municipal police station? My answer to this is no, because Campus Safety officers aren’t acting in the same capacity as cops. They have authority, but they aren’t dealing with the same challenges as a cop in a town. Unlike cities, which house a diverse population, college campuses house primarily young adults all working towards a common goal. This does not mean their presence will eliminate crime, but it does mean that most of us are hopefully responsible enough to think for ourselves and understand the consequences of our actions. At the end of the day, it isn’t their job to seek out criminal activity, rather, they are here to make sure that we are safe and following the law. I would rather see Campus Safety arrive at a situation than the Portland Police.
Just like any of the professors or faculty members on campus, their goal is to support us and help us reach our goals. They do it in a more indirect way than the professors, but they allow LC to have a safe learning environment for all students. If they didn’t exist, how can students succeed academically if they constantly have to worry about their safety?
Many students have minimal interaction with Campus Safety. For those who do interact with them, it is likely they are doing so because they broke a school policy. This is a negative experience for students, of course, but it’s the job of Campus Safety to intercede when necessary. School policies exist to ensure our environment is safe for all students, and a violation in one means that the safety and well-being of yourself or others is being threatened.
Campus Safety is on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. According to LC’s website, some of their responsibilities include fire emergencies, traffic accidents, safety escorts and enforcement of school policies. They are also highly trained for medical emergencies, so they may be the ones that save your life. Students may not always have positive experiences with Campus Safety, but as long as laws and school policies exist, someone needs to enforce them. We may not always like it, but at their core, they are here to help.