To the Editor:
I have been a member of St. John’s Community for seven years, and this is the second time I have felt compelled to write in response to an article I read in The Torch. After reading Penlight in the October 9th issue, I was quite disturbed over a comment regarding Public Safety. You said that you “always thought of Public Safety as more of a comfort to the parents than to the students…[that] they drive around and look important for when the parents come and visit, but if you actually needed help, they’d probably just drive away.” I hope that you have never needed the assistance of Public Safety, nor will in the future. However, as one who has, I can attest that they did not “just drive away.”
When I began my college career at St. John’s, I too thought that Public Safety would only be a presence during Open House so to make a marked impression on the parents. I even laughed at the Safety Brochures they would send to me every year citing crime statistics on campus and safety tips for precaution. Yet as an undergraduate, graduate, and now faculty member, I have had nothing but positive interaction and hold an admirable opinion of the Public Safety members.
When I became ill as an undergraduate one day, officers from Public Safety were at my side literally within minutes, providing me with medical assistance and alerting those waiting for me of the circumstances occurring. As a graduate student leaving the library late at night, I felt reassured walking down the campus as the headlights of Public Safety vehicles were the only guides down the dark parking lot.
Never did Public Safety just drive by me at those times. In fact, on numerous occasions they would offer me a lift to my vehicle.
Now as a professor teaching both early mornings and late at nights, whenever I have called on Public Safety, even at a moment’s notice for non-emergency situations, they immediately assisted me. Not only did they do so expeditiously, but they did it with the courtesy, professionalism and respect that many of them were trained with as former police officers. In a campus as large as St. John’s, I find it remarkable that certain campus security officers and sergeants remember me from my undergraduate years.
Never do they fail to stop and greet me and inquire as to how I am. Never do they fail to assure that I am not in need of any assistance. I have in the past heard in jest, ill comments in regard to our Public Safety officers. What I think we fail to realize is that unlike us, their presence at St. John’s is still necessary even when the campus is closed. During the freezing cold and unbearable heat, many are outside patrolling while we maybe enjoying heated or air-conditioned classrooms.
No matter what may be said, their job is not easy. Many of these people pledged their lives as sworn officers to other police departments, and now even with their retirement from their previous posts, they are still obliged to put their safety on the line for everyone, including the ungrateful. Maybe as a community, if we spent less time badmouthing Public Safety and more time trying to work with them in cooperation, opinions like yours could be eradicated once and for all. We must remember that these officers are not to blame for whatever safety concerns we may have about the University. Those concerns are because of the perpetrators themselves.
Government and Politics
To the Editor:
I don’t understand the dissenting opinions featured in your article on the move of the residence Fitness Center (“Fitness Center Causes Frustration” Oct. 2). One student’s complaint that “it is a much further location-we have to walk to the other side of campus” seems completely asinine. If you’re really that serious about working out, shouldn’t a long walk to the other side of campus be considered a welcome part to your routine? “Health conscious” residents who actually complained about the move of the Fitness Center really need to get their priorities straightened out.
Sophomore, Marketing Major
To the Editor:
In response to Eklea Cakuli (“Smokers foul the air near entrances,” Sept. 25), there was a time when this was not the case. Buildings used to have designated smoking areas where those who so desired could indulge and those who wished to avoid tobacco fumes merely avoided these areas.
This arrangement was just a little too civilized and tolerant for some people-we don’t, after all, live in Amsterdam-and it was decreed that smokers would be punished by being cast from the “comforting warmth” of indoors to the mercy of the elements.
So now you’ve got clusters of people huddled around the entrances, especially in bad weather, because these areas are the closest things to shelters available.
As to why ever more people appear to be smoking, I can only speculate that there is something in human nature that despises rules and laws that are unreasonable and mean-spirited (read up on prohibition). Back when smokers were treated like human beings rather than criminals, smoking declined at a slow but steady rate. When the anti-smoking forces declared a holy crusade (especially against youth smoking), it suddenly became a cool, “rebellious” thing to do (especially for youth).
The reasonable solution would be to provide indoor smoking areas. Or, I guess the University could beautify the campus with signs 40 feet from every single entrance and have Public Safety harass anyone smoking inside those boundaries.
Until then, I suggest a stronger grip on reality. I know people with asthma who regularly frequent smoky bars and seem none the worse, so I seriously doubt that being exposed to cigarette smoke for the two or three seconds it takes to enter a building is going to shorten anyone’s life span.
Adjunct Professor of ESL