Words from the Wise: a case against Campus Safety
Adjunct professor for the English Department, Larry Smith. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES [file photo]
My first encounter with Campus Safety came when my son and three of his Emerson Hall buddies hijacked Clyde Cook’s golf cart for a midnight joyride; were apprehended, cuffed and, if memory serves, water-boarded; and were billed $3,000 each for repairs — actually, one dented fender. I wrote to Clyde expressing embarrassment for sending him a juvenile delinquent; also, to protest the size of the bill. He replied first-person, waived the “fee,” reprimanded the officers, and offered to purchase a library-entry brick for my wife and me.
Second encounter: After hearing Campus Safety was requesting their arsenal be expanded to include loaded police-issue pistols, I contacted my new friend, Clyde, to express how arming campus cops was contrary to everything Biola stood for. The original request was denied.
A decade later, my only encounters with on-site coppers have been parking tickets — like getting busted for parking in a “Visitor” spot when I was visiting. Go figure.
Now, I am being pushed back into the fray by the Chimes, who have unthinkingly asked me to write a column. I proposed several topics: moving campus back downtown — Lock, Stock, and Bardwell; Christian fads and trends — WWJD bracelets and Hillsong grunts; and the stupidity of supporting a cultist for president (has anyone considered that Christian touchstone issues — Israel, abortion and marriage — just MIGHT include HOW A CANDIDATE FEELS ABOUT JESUS — e.g., he’s not Satan’s brother!). Surprisingly, when I polled my LA Lit students, the top vote-getter was disbanding Campus Safety!
So, to honor them, allow me to refute the common arguments in support of Campus Safety:
We’ll be in danger! La Mirada is the safest city this side of Flint, Michigan. The Sheriff’s Department is across the street and officers will arrive at a “crime scene” faster than Paul Blart. We could pay to keep an officer on retainer who would make Biola University his first priority and have access to backup firepower.
Parents won’t send their kids to Biola if we don’t have Bob Jones-style security. Who would want kids with that heritage? We’re overloaded now and could eliminate timid faithless ones before they even set foot on campus. We could even collect a finder’s fee from Pensacola for every student who chose their home-school college over the Biola barrio.
You can’t just fire the security staff. Those who chose to stay could transfer to fill vacancies in other departments. In line with Cook Doctrine, no one would be fired.
What about the vehicles? President Barry Corey and the provosts could drive the cars; the new trikes could be donated to local elementary schools.
Who would enforce campus rules? Which ones? Bikes and skateboards should be allowed on pathways — we’re a college! — and noise complaints, etc. could be handled by RDs. As in my own neighborhood, if you yell, two dozen cholos will appear and beat the crud out of your tormentor. Stewart Hall guys would love to emulate them.
Parking? The new order: A. No parking fees B. Everyone’s assigned a numbered space C. Visitors get the leftovers D. Maintenance staff could leave courtesy notices on violator windshields.
Security in dark areas? Install better lighting and alarms with direct connection to the sheriff.
How hard was that? The education department could now expand into a second mobile home, skaters could strut their stuff — though Razor Scooters would be banned to improve our “nerd coefficient” for “US News.” If Corey’s cart was stolen, as a runner, he could chase down the perps himself. If someone parked in my spot, I’d go al-Qaida on him.
Thank me when your lower tuition bill arrives.