EDITORIAL: Students ultimately responsible for fate of USF

This school year began with rampant bike and computer theft. It ended with thieves sawing catalytic converters off of cars.

The shameful thing is that a majority of these crimes took place during broad daylight. The computers were taken directly from classrooms.

University Police (UP) and AlliedBarton can’t take full blame. At the beginning of the school year, UP was struggling to stay staffed and was in the midst of contract renegotiations, while AlliedBarton had yet to be hired.

Believe it or not, USF’s administrators can’t take all the blame either. No matter how many officers or security guards the University hires, when the campus is at its busiest, policing is incredibly difficult.

A majority of what takes place within the USF community can be dictated by its most abundant resource: students.

The catchphrase for the NYPD and New York post-Sept. 11 has been “If you see something, say something.” Public announcements are on nearly every bus and train car, and it is broadcast often in most mass transit situations.

The idea is that no matter how well a security force is trained, it is nearly impossible for a city so large to be thoroughly policed. The only way to do so is to ask millions of people – who would rather not be interacting – to break their silence if they see something out of place.

This leads to city buses being stopped when someone forgets a suitcase, or people getting involved in altercations to prevent things from getting out of hand.

This system has worked in New York and other major cities, and the same should happen at USF.

The University will not be able to shed its commuter school image until students respect and embrace others who share a common goal. USF is a community, and while you don’t have to like everyone just because they attend your classes, take a moment to alert someone when you see parts being removed from a car or bike chains being broken.

This mentality should also extend to other issues on campus.

It is imperative that students inform themselves on issues that affect them and fellow students, such as budget cuts or other USF politics. While students may believe these issues will not affect them, they might in the future.

Tuesday’s protest offered an example of students defending each other and demanding that the administration fight for them. Students who questioned Provost Ralph Wilcox represented various degrees and colleges, and took the time to support other students when they witnessed something they considered to be an injustice.

Nothing but good will result for USF, the students and the neighboring community if students work together for each others’ interests and remember that they have a stake in the Green and Gold – even if it isn’t football season.