Mills Student Expresses her Concerns about Public Safety’s Preformance

By
May 5, 2005

Dear Mills College,

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the Public Safety at Mills College. There are a number of situations that have alarmed me since I began attending the college last semester…

Shortly after the break-in of Elizabeth Schwartz’s room, I called Public Safety to let them know that the day before I had seen two men wandering around the courtyard, each carrying a beer in one hand. It looked as though they were casing the property but I decided not to report it to Public Safety when I saw them walk into Mary Morse.

When I called Public Safety, I told the security guard that I had information that could be related to the break-in; however, he acted uninterested and distracted. He stumbled over his words and hastily said he knew all about the break-in and had just examined the area and had written up a report. The officer quickly and unprofessionally wrapped up the call. He didn’t take any of my contact information, nor did he ask me for any other information about what I had seen. In this instance it appears as though Public Safety has done absolutely nothing to ensure that we are safe.

My other concern also indicates the incompetence of some of the Public Safety staff members as well as the lack of communication among Public Safety officers and administration. The taxi voucher system was one of the reassuring aspects of attending this college. The fact that it is not being implemented successfully misrepresents the commitment to the students that this administration claims to regard.

Last semester I returned from the Alta Bates Emergency Room expecting to be able to use a taxi voucher. When I asked about the process at the front gate the attendant had no idea what I was referring to. In that particular situation I was fortunately able to use my credit card even though the taxi driver was reluctant. Since I had arrived at the hospital in an ambulance, it could have been just as likely for me to have not been carrying my wallet, in which case I would have had no way to return to campus without the voucher system.

More recently, three other people and I were returning to campus late in the night of March 11. My friend’s car broke down and I had to call a tow-truck to meet us South of San Francisco. The tow-truck could only accommodate two passengers, which meant the other two needed to take a cab back to campus.

When my friend called the school to inquire about how to return using a voucher, he confirmed that she could use a voucher and offered to call a cab for her but she said that wouldn’t be necessary. When the cab arrived at the college, the security guard at the gate told her that she couldn’t use a voucher because she didn’t use a cab from the correct company. No one has ever specified that students using the taxi voucher system need to use a certain company.

When I expressed my concerns about the taxi voucher system to a Public Safety staff member she said that the voucher system was only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency situation should be qualified as any circumstance in which a student is stranded if it were not for a cab and the voucher system.

Burglaries may occur on any college campus, although the level of competence in which security deals with such matters may vary. I wonder whether or not Mills has one of the least effective Public Safety forces in comparison to other college campuses in the United States, although I have no doubt that it is functioning at an absolutely unacceptable level.

I expect the college to address this issue immediately, and I would like a response as to what is being done to improve the security of the campus and the safety of the students. I would also like to be informed specifically as to what plans are in store for the taxi voucher system. Thank you for taking to time to consider my concerns seriously.

 

Sincerely,

 

Pamela Caserta


Mills Student Expresses her Concerns about Public Safety’s Preformance was published on May 5, 2005 in Letters to the Editor

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