Dear Mills Family:
Recently, my daughter was confronted by a thoroughly vexed Public Safety officer as she parked near her dorm. He was upset that she had several parking tickets. She had two other students in the car. He threatened to give one of them a ticket for recklessly opening the passenger door and threatened to have my daughter’s car towed. She agreed to park more carefully and assumed the tickets would be billed to her account, as was the case with other students. This was about 8 or 9 p.m. in late January.
A week later, she was ordered at the gate to see the Sergeant in his office now. She declined. It was after 9 p.m. Again, she had other students with her. One is an RA in another dorm. She parked, entered the dorm with the other students and went to her room. Sometime later, someone banged on her door loudly. When she heard keys jingling, she knew it was the same Public Safety officer. She was alone and absolutely afraid. He had the key to her room. Then she heard another voice in the hall, and the sergeant apparently left.
When I heard about this, I asked my daughter to request a meeting to try and get clarification on why she was being followed to her room at night for parking tickets. Every time I’ve visited, I see people parking illegally. There is a parking problem at Mills. Now it seemed to be a personal issue with Public Safety.
In the meeting in early February-for which I had to take a day away from work-I met Karen Maggio who represented Public Safety’s point of view. According to Maggio, the officer is a highly decorated retired Oakland Police Officer who was angry and frustrated. This ‘angry’ man surely must have had some prior training in his career about how to deal with the public. At the meeting was another student who was present at the scene of the “I could tow your car” episode. She and my daughter both clearly said, “We are afraid of this officer; he threatened us.”
This was apparently disregarded, and as to this date, I have received no plausible explanation of why my daughter, an Ethel Moore resident and Mills student, was treated as a sort of fleeing felon and continues to be publicly described as such by the head of Public Safety, Michael Lopez.
Last week, my daughter received a bill for parking tickets. It’s $240. I’ll send a check, but what has been lost is our faith in the idyllic island climate of Mills. I have asked my daughter to look elsewhere for graduate school. Perhaps she’ll be safer.
Judith A. Becker