Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Time updating UMPD’s Facebook page could be better used elsewhere

As President Shalala’s e-mails regarding UM’s finances continue to pile up in inboxes, I am shocked to learn that the university effectively pays the UMPD to be on Facebook.

Perhaps a Facebook fan page is the missing weapon in the UMPD’s crime-fighting arsenal, but I suspect not. The fan page is a symptom of the inordinate amount of time and money the UMPD wastes when it isn’t busting college students for being college students.

UM needs a security force to protect students from outside threats. But it doesn’t need a self-righteous one that has new “candy” paint and hubcapped cruisers with enough equipment to make State Troopers jealous. We don’t need police motorcycles and police golf carts and police Segways. Southwest Airlines cuts costs by flying the same type of aircraft on all of its flights. Let’s see UMPD do the same.

Our campus is small enough that someone on a bike (or a Segway, if you must) can respond in equal or less time than it would take a car to drive from one side of campus to the other. Sell the expensive, gas-reliant cruisers, which inattentive officers use as La-Z-Boy chairs, and replace them with low-cost, “Green U” bicycles. Consistent, active patrolling – not stationary units – is the best way to give students and faculty peace of mind and to keep them safe 24/7.

Safety means protecting the loop-runners from muggings, it means preventing theft in the dorms and vandalism on fraternity row, and it means that students who commit what are essentially victimless crimes like drinking, using a fake ID and, dare I say, smoking, should be free from harassment and moralizing by a quasi-law-enforcement agency that has time for Facebook.

Instead of allocating resources to monitoring social behavior, the UMPD should ensure that students who wish to partake in a bit of college fun have a safe haven to do so to the extent that such behavior doesn’t have significant adverse effects.

The city of Coral Gables arguably has a more active police force than communist Russia with generally far less to do, so if a serious problem arises, let them do their job. Tax dollars, not UM dollars, should pay to incarcerate students.

If the UMPD wants fans, it needs to align its mission with the interests and needs of students and faculty, not be Big Brother’s Lil’ Bro. Until then, I think planting another Royal Palm Tree would be money better spent.

Ben Chandler (’10)

March 29, 2009

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Letter to the Editor


4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Letter to the Editor: Time updating UMPD’s Facebook page could be better used elsewhere”

  1. antonio says:

    AZ Whl Because of you they canceled the IBIS bus ride. How do we get to the grove NOW. IDIOT

  2. Jorge Alum '97 says:

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was: are you serious?! You’re basically saying that you want to compromise your safety and security so that you won’t be “harassed” when you want to commit your “victimless crimes”: smoking marijuana, using your fake ID, and drinking alcohol until you become inebriated?! That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. With the way this economy is going and how desperate criminals are becoming, you think that the best option is to disband the very thing that is keeping you safe?
    Let me ask you something, and I hope you’ll read this and actually respond to my question: if you are being robbed (and just to have this hit home with you, say it’s something very important to you that they are taking, like your pot stash) and the bad guys drive off, would you like to have Paul Blart chase after them on his segway and watch them drive away with your prized possessions, or have police, with their “candy paint and hubcapped cruisers” catch up to the bad guys and actually apprehend them?
    You really need to re-evaluate your priorities. Comments like yours are what perpetuate the negative stereotypes associated with college students. It’s sad that you call yourself a ‘Cane.

  3. joker says:

    Maybe if u didn’t always get drunk and smoke pot u wouldnt have problems with the police. STONER!

    comon .. who think this dude puffs the magic dragon?

  4. Megan says:

    I can tell by your letter than you are one of those stupid boys that smokes pot in your room, melts our plastic tables with lighters, and gets drunk and destroys our decorations in our dorms. The thing I wish UM public safety would change is for them to do what your parents should have done long ago and smack you for being so stupid, so that the rest of us here, who are actually trying to learn and prepare for real careers, could complete our work without being woken up at 4:00 am because some drunk moron pulled a fire alarm. Not all of us are here to just party. Wake up and grow up.
    I for one am glad that we have a security force that keeps us safe, especially in a city as dangerous as Miami.

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