Thursday, March 29, 2007

A UMF Police Campus

From my new favorite member of SSDP, our own Mr. JW;


Please have your group read over these handouts, and be sure to tell them they come courtesy of Officer Ted Blais, head of Public Safety. I don’t have a car on campus, so I’m not as familiar as I’d like to be with some of the parking issues. The pattern indicated here would be obvious to anyone, though - this is not a student-friendly proposal. The first offense parking fine will be doubled, and a boot is being introduced that could cost students hundreds of dollars, not to mention inconvenience. Parking decals, currently free, could cost as much as $35 each next year. This would bring in, by my calculations, nearly $80,000 - all of which - unlike parking fines, which are redistributed as a part of UMF’s budget - will go directly to Public Safety. Officer Blais said that he intends to use the money to hire more staff, especially in the overnight hours and during the summer. Another portion will be used for the purchase of security cameras, both for the parking lots and entrances to buildings. It’s this last that concerns me most, and I expressed this to Officer Blais - the cameras, ostensibly in place to catch vandals, thieves, and violent criminals - are ultimately going to provide Public Safety with a formidable weapon in Farmington’s very own drug war. The cameras will be used to harass and punish those in our student body who choose to party SAFER, as well as underage drinkers. The post 9/11 proliferation of surveillance is one of the direst issues facing true liberty in our nation, violating our rights to privacy, assembly and free expression, and there is no practical need for this ugly, Orwellian tactic to be introduced in Farmington.

I’m just getting warmed up, but I’m afraid I need to get these papers to you and be on my way. I’d love to come to a meeting sometime and discuss these issues with SSDP, as well as the possibility of preparing a joint statement, or a petition of some kind which could be presented to Public Safety, as well as to the President, the Board of Directors, and the student body - perhaps on the student center projector? Thanks for your help, and... Peace


JW is a member of UMF's Campus Residence Council.

Here's an interesting link, it shows security statistics on campus. Based on these statistics, do you feel unsafe enough to start installing cameras on campus?