Staff Ed: Public safety needs better communication, transparency
Our security officers need to understand that protesting is part of AU’s culture.
AU is a protest school. We’re happy to protest anytime, anywhere, for causes good and bad. It would be reasonable to think that our Public Safety officers understand this and would be accommodating of it.
Recently, Public Safety removed student protestors while they attempted to deliver a letter to board members debating tuition hikes in Leonard Hall. About 40 protesters from the student coalition Education Not Debt stood on the sides of the hallway, silently holding signs. It is unknown who alerted Public Safety to their presence, but they were told they did not have the proper permit. Some officers even allegedly had their handcuffs out.
Public Safety has refused to comment directly on the situation to The Eagle. Instead, The Eagle talks to AU Media Relations.
The Eagle feels that Public Safety should work to better understand the interests of the students they serve. We don’t need to be on a first name basis with Public Safety officers, but there does need to be significantly more communication and transparency on how they work. Even though they could have been completely in the right by removing the students, not making this fact clear to students does not help anyone. At this point, it is unclear whether Public Safety is working for the best interests of students or to improve the school’s public relations among donors.
Increased transparency will only make students feel more safe on this campus. We don’t want to dislike or distrust Public Safety. In fact, we value them greatly as a security force. Still, they need to open up to both The Eagle and the general student population so that we know there is nothing to worry about.