A Proposal for a Change in Campus Security Policy

28 Feb

To:  Don Enloe, Director of Campus Safety
From:  Scott Charles Sheppard

Date:  February 27, 2013

RE:  Campus Security Policy on Writing Up Students and Sending Students to Detox for alcohol and drug use

 

Campus Security at the University of Denver has so far in my experience here seemed to have mostly a negative presence in the eyes of most students attending here and is something I find contrary to how students should feel towards the service granted to us by the University.  Just as police operate in the real world, we expect campus security to keep us safe and for the most part look out for us as a whole community, to react to situations with rational not just automatic responses triggered by certain situations.  Campus security has a huge presence on campus as I can’t walk to class without seeing at least one security car driving by but its presence is stuck in a limbo between good and bad for me and many other students.  We all appreciate the call booths around campus keeping the line open to campus security for anyone at any time of the day to call for assistance in any risky situation where one feels threatened, and their aid in returning stolen bikes and other property, but many students only see the side of campus security that without much scrutiny at all will send a student to detox (or rather the drunk tank) and ruin their night, their week, and possibly their future.

I would argue that in many instances of students being cited for alcohol abuse and/or being sent to detox the campus security may have been overzealous in their involvement and justification for action upon those students.  Personally I do understand the problem arising with my argument before I start it; students are breaking the law drinking under age, or could be dangerously drunk regardless of age putting the university at risk of legal action if they were to come to harm on campus.  As I have not personally been cited by campus security I have witnessed and had close friends involved in several incidents with them and many times it seems have been unjustly dealt with.  I would argue that in some situations campus security looks to seek out trouble rather than deal with it when presented, and I don’t believe this to be a positive way of how they should be dealing with student drinking.

Many time campus security has been seen staking out halls and towers lobbies essentially waiting for drunk individuals who are coming back from parties and/or bars effectively creating a situation in which students are scared to return to their dorm rooms for fear of being caught.  As the aim of campus security is keep campus safe it doesn’t seem that they should be instilling the opposite feelings towards students here by creating the environment in which a student must fear any interaction with them.  

I interviewed a friend of mine whom had an encounter with campus security earlier this year.  An RA noticed he was sick in the bathroom after a night of partying and alerted campus security to the situation.  This is a clear sign that a student may need help, yet not without first assessing the situation.  When campus security arrived my friend was done being sick and very alert and able to have a conversation with them undeterred from alcohol.  He was able to talk clearly enough to prove to them he was not a risk, behaved normally, and asked simply to go to bed.  Campus security in turn responded by telling him he could either deal with them or the real police.  At this point he decided to just abide with them and ended up being sent to detox.  Unexpectedly though he was unable to go because it was too full, and they had to send him to the hospital.  At the hospital he blew a BAC of .07%, still illegal for underage drinkers but nowhere near the amount of alcohol one requires in their blood stream to go to detox, and because he went to the hospital instead of the police station got a bill of $2000.00.  I feel like all of this could have been avoided with a little bit more discretion from campus security and less of an automated reaction to dealing with intoxicated students.

I feel like the school and student can both benefit from this slightly changing policy on taking students to detox.  If students continue to get in trouble and by eventually having to deal with DPD as the campus security warned my friend students will get more MIPs on their records.  Sometimes seemingly unnecessary predicaments that students find themselves in could be solved by instituting a new system to look after the students in their rooms rather than ship them off campus.  A MIP on a student’s record could hurt their chances of jobs after college, and probation only prolongs the time in which they are required to study there costing them more money and wasting more time not in the job force or pursuing whatever path they choose.  This provides not only a better chance for all students to succeed but reflects well on the status of the University as a hole when more of our graduates do better and better.  There will be a better relationship between the campus security and residents, and a safer community as well.  If not the first time we might institute as a middle ground a three strike rule for students.  

Overall I think a change is necessary on campus for the way in which these situations are handled.  Without getting outrageous and with safety and security still considered a priority. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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