That University Police is operating with about half of the officers it needs to patrol campus at night and losing officers for lack of decent pay shouldn’t be shocking to anyone who has read the Oracle since the start of the semester.
However, what should shock students, faculty and staff on campus, however, is how much the University has allowed campus security to deteriorate.
Consider the recent collective bargaining fiasco between the University and UP.
The University’s grand plan to combat officer loss wasn’t the obvious and logical choice for UP and those familiar with the issue – offer better pay so that UP competes with local law enforcement agencies who are also hiring.
Rather, the University’s less-than-brilliant idea is that showing a jazzy informational video at job fairs and other recruiting events will better coax would-be officers than would the thousands of dollars involved in monetary recruiting techniques like signing bonuses, salary increase or raises for veteran officers.
Understandably, this impasse in collective bargaining has yet to yield a single new officer, troubling news considering a report on dorm safety published in Monday’s edition of the Oracle.
Police patrols and video monitoring of USF’s on-campus housing pale in comparison to those of similarly sized State University System institutions like the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida.
Officials in Residence Services said that there’s often only one UP officer patrolling the campus’ 46 housing complexes at night, compared to two officers in past years when more officers were available.
Compounding this lack of officers, the 4,000 resident students at USF are not guarded with security cameras, front desk staff or Resident Advisor monitoring. The Oracle also noted “there are no security cameras inside or outside the halls.”
The only promise of cameras-to-come is contingent on an increase in campus crime. Dean of Housing & Residential Education Tom Kane said temporary cameras would be installed if the University incurred a spike in vandalism.
Lack of basic security measures on a campus that’s expected to increase its resident-student population is troubling, to say the least.
It also reflects irresponsibility on behalf of the University administration, which has continued to dilly-dally with talk of promotional videos and private security patrols instead of addressing campus security properly.
The University could avoid empty talk and better protect students by simply paying UP officers more. Doing so would likely beef up UP’s thinning ranks, thus freeing up more officers for patrols.
If the University does not do this, it can only be said that the Administration does not take student safety seriously.