Op Ed contributor
April 7, 2017
The Courier, as an institution, prides itself on not letting bias affect its reporting. Even so, the paper referred to recent developments in the treatment of student vehicles as “extreme.” And they’re right. The practice of booting student cards for parking in the wrong spot is absurd. It’s draconian. It’s, quite frankly, antithetical to what security is supposed to feel like on campus. Of course, the paper also, when reporting, must maintain the notion that they are neutral, that the decision is, while extreme, understandable.
I have no such mandate. The decision to boot student cars is petty, pointless, and does little, if anything, to inspire faith in security from the students. It does absolutely nothing to open a dialogue with the students about policy and practices. I’m not even sure if it does anything to limit students parking where they aren’t supposed to. While I’m sure security means well, because I’m sure they’re all decent people, the end result is what the students see, not the decision-making process that gets there. Students see cars getting booted, and little explanation until the Courier decides to go ask. From the beginning, that’s a recipe for failure. Transparency is paramount to any safety institution’s success. When the students actively resent security for more than your typical “I got busted for drinking underage” situation, it makes security’s job harder. It makes life as a student harder. Nobody wins in this situation. Security looks bad and has to deal with editorials on why their decisions are not good. Students get their cars booted. There, by the way, is a clear imbalance in who is affected, there.
Look, I can already imagine someone asking: “But what about all those students who didn’t come forward?” Yes, there were allegations of expansive booting that were not corroborated by the Courier because people didn’t step up. And that doesn’t matter. Let’s assume every single student who got a boot had not registered their car. The decision to boot the cars is still ridiculous. Who benefits there? The student who did register, and no longer has to add a full sixty seconds to their walk to their residence hall? Security, having to do extra work of removing the boot? There is no beneficiary here. No significant one, anyway. What little help the booting does do is so insignificant, that I am not sure that it’s worth the effort of having to deal with any of this. I doubt students are so broken up about having to go to the next parking lot that they’re all for booting cars. We’re not that lazy. If we can find a ways to handle people parking where they shouldn’t, then security can find ways to punish those people without having to physically restrict the car itself. I personally suggest this new-fangled punishment the kids are calling “tickets.”