BY RYAN J. MILLS
I am writing as a recent Gator grad, having completed both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at UF. I still receive e-mails sent to the student population, including the e-mail sent a few days ago regarding an armed robbery outside of Graham Oasis. My girlfriend is a graduating senior at UF and it saddens me to periodically (or is it constantly?) receive an influx of e-mails regarding violent attacks on and around the UF campus.
During my time at UF, I knew quite a few students who were assaulted or robbed on the outskirts of the campus. No crime is excusable, but often these incidents occurred when the victims were heavily intoxicated and in unsavory locations. It had become commonplace over the years for GPD to place more emphasis on trolling midtown bars for quick revenue in lieu of actually protecting the citizens so re-hashing my disappointment with that situation is a moot point.
Nonetheless, it is detestable that these criminal elements have now penetrated the friendly confines of the campus. How is it that I should feel more comfortable with my girlfriend on the streets of the Bronx, 30 blocks north of my New York apartment than walking home from class at Weimer hall? Surely the budget for UPD is bountiful enough to protect the student body. I myself witnessed as a freshman UPD storm in like the SS over a gameday beer pong match in Trusler Hall, not 20 yards from the scene of last week’s robbery.
I have also seen motorcycle cops pull over UF students in cars, on scooters, bicycles and even skateboards. I’m sure the university appreciates the revenue streams from these trivial infractions, but at what expense? Can the UFPD force no longer keep the students safe from the criminals of Alachua County? Try as it might to ameliorate the standing of the University, if it cannot protect its students then it has failed them. Gone are the days when students found safety in numbers. I certainly would like to see a statement from the University on how they intend to address this issue. I would like to see protection in lieu of inaction. And if this flaccid, ineffectual “police force” cannot maintain the sanctity of its campus, the University should take charge. Or else the students at UF should huddle together and lie in wait for the next attack.
“Anyone who thinks there is safety in numbers hasn’t looked at the stock market lately.”