Opinion

Staff editorial: The cost of keeping creepers off our campus

The Coral Gables campus here at  UM is too open. Think about it: anyone can walk across the intramural fields or get off the metro and be right on campus. Even driving a car onto campus during the day is not difficult.

It seems like this year there has been an increase in shady characters around UM. Let’s make a quick list of some of the intruders who have taken advantage of our open door: the four individuals that drove around with a BB gun shooting at pedestrians, the armed robbers at Starbucks and now former student Rafael Chinchilla have been seen trespassing on campus.

Now, it’s not right to bash the UM Police Department over every good-for-nothing that wanders on campus. They have installed cameras, an emergency notification network and have even instituted student patrols.

UMPD has done their part. It’s the general structure of the campus that needs to be changed.

UM has made progress in the right direction with this planned road that will go through the arboretum.

It will allow students to travel through campus without going into the extremely dangerous Coral Gables neighborhood. But the university needs to step it up a notch.

A few obvious options include a wall around the border of campus, comparable to one that is being built to separate the American border from Mexico, or even a moat. For a moat we would just have to get more crocodiles.

These changes to UM’s master plan are not likely in the current financial situation. Digging a moat and filling it with endangered animals is not the most fiscally sound route the school can take.

A better option is basic self-awareness. The beautiful open spaces at the university that make it all too easy to trespass also offer opportunities for students to relax and enjoy themselves.

So unless students would rather have an overbearing police force that sporadically checks IDs, a campus full of checkpoints or a moat full of crocodiles, they should see the situation for what it is: these incidents were unpreventable.

All UMPD can do is remind students to be aware of suspicious activities, which is what we encourage everyone to do too.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial staff.

April 21, 2010

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.