A part-time parking patrolman was arrested and fired Tuesday after striking a student who used a racial epithet against him.
While the patrolman shouldn’t have hit the student, the student should have been punished after verbally assaulting the man. The university should be fair in its handling of the situation by levying a punishment against the student.
The altercation began when the student received several parking tickets for campus parking violations. A boot was placed on his car and the student went to Parking and Transportation Services Tuesday to pay his tickets and have his car released. The patrolman who arrived to remove the device took it off and was accused of scratching the car’s rim. The patrolman denied the accusation, and allegedly the student proceeded to call him names, using racial slurs.
Most likely in the passion of the moment, the patrolman lost his temper and punched the student in the mouth. The student wasn’t seriously hurt, and he declined medical attention. Violence is not a good way to solve a problem and the patrolman needed to be reprimanded.
However, it is understandable that someone could be so offended by such slurs that they would lose sight of proper action for a moment. The patrolman perhaps shouldn’t have been fired, but instead placed on leave and made to take anger management classes.
In addition, the student should not escape punishment. Had he said the same word to a professor, the student would have probably been immediately placed on academic suspension. It shouldn’t be different if a student offends any other university employee.
The university should promote tolerance, and allowing this student to walk away without punishment is wrong. To do so would acknowledge that using such epithets against university employees is acceptable, which it is certainly not. Punishment should be meted out against both involved, but in a way that is equal to the involvement of each person.