Badalato Misinformed On Campus Safety

To The Editor:

I was disappointed to read the Editor’s Column entitled “Campus Safety: More Aggravating than Helpful” in the March 4th edition of The Colgate Maroon-News. I would like to take the time to respond to show the community that Campus Safety is not only helpful, but also an essential part of this campus. To begin, I will address some of Mr. Badalato’s comments in his article. The first issue I have is his use of the term “Camp-O.” I do not work for the department, but I would like to say that a more appropriate term might be Campus Safety, not Camp-O. The use of such slang is disrespectful to the officers who keep our university safe. In another outlandish statement, Mr. Badalato states, “I am constantly amazed by the frivolous tasks that they complete. Fire alarms, fraudulent ID use and students with alcohol constitute about half of all Campus Safety activity.” Yes, Campus Safety does complete those tasks, but they are far from frivolous. In the end of his article, the Editor comments on his experience being investigated by Campus Safety regarding hazing with his fraternity. He asks, “Does Campus Safety even have the authority to Mirandize a student?” The answer, Mr. Badalato, is yes. Many officers (including the officer who read you your rights) in the Campus Safety department are police officers who hold the same powers as any other police officer would. I doubt you would treat a police officer off-campus in the same manner as many students treat the Campus Safety officers. Campus Safety provides a necessary and important service to the Colgate Community in a number of ways. Mr. Badalato’s article explained that the only useful thing Campus Safety does is take people to the hospital and unlock dorm rooms for students. He even goes so far as to say “If Camp-O was replaced by an ambulance and a locksmith, I think many students, including myself, would be quite content.” First of all, students are fortunate to have campus safety drive them to the hospital when they have minor injuries. The alternative that the Editor proposes is to call an ambulance. I can’t imagine he has thought about the cost of such a proposition. If the ambulance has to transport a patient, they will send that person a bill. By Campus Safety transporting a patient, it not only saves the ambulance corps time and resources by not having to respond to every minor emergency, but saves the students considerable amounts of money by giving him a free ride down the hill. That seems more than helpful to me. Another issue which Mr. Badalato seems to think is trivial is the response to fire alarms on campus. The actions that Campus Safety have taken in regards to fire safety on campus should be applauded, not criticized. Campus Safety is responsible for investigating all fire alarms in Colgate Buildings. They then determine whether the fire department should respond. If they were not available to do this, then the Hamilton Fire Department would be responsible for responding to each alarm, thus tripling their yearly call volume. The fire department response brings along with it its own inconveniences and consequences. These include increased cost to taxpayers as well as severe penalties and fines for malicious false alarms. In addition to responding to alarms, Campus Safety is credited with installing automatic sprinkler systems in every Colgate owned residence hall. Thus, any student who is living on campus is sleeping under a sprinkler. While it may seem obvious that there would be sprinklers in every building, due to the age of many on-campus buildings, it has not always been a requirement. Thanks to the efforts of Assistant Director John Basher, as well as the entire Campus Safety department, students at Colgate can feel more secure in their residence halls. It should be recognized that Colgate is a leader amongst universities in fire safety.I hope that this article has shown the Editor, as well as others, that not only is Campus Safety helpful, but also it is a vital part of the Colgate campus. It is due to their efforts, that we can reap the benefits of a safe and productive community.

Lindsey Brandolini ’05