Public Safety increases its presence
The beginning of every school year at Ithaca College ushers in a new, wide-eyed freshman class, apprehension of the impending cold weather, Cortaca t-shirt sales…and increased public safety surveillance at the circle and garden apartments.
“At the beginning of every school year we have enhanced presence in certain places, the circles, the gardens…one year it was Emerson, another year it was at the towers, those are the places we try to concentrate on at the very beginning of the year to try to calm things down at the beginning so people know: okay, these are the limits that we can get by with,” said IC Public Safety Deputy Chief David Dray.
The apartments, especially the circles, have been known to throw the occasional rager, and Public Safety responds when notified by a Residential Advisor or people in the surrounding neighborhoods. This year, however, public safety seems to be cracking down especially hard on on-campus parties, specifically at the circle apartments.
Senior Tiara Kanney has worked as an RA for three years, but this will be her first at the circle apartments. “Last year public safety probably gained in size by about a quarter,” she said, “and so they had a huge increased presence in the circles, which is good for us because we don’t want people to think that circles is the place to go for parties…but I definitely think they increased their presence this year.”
Junior Taylor Macdonald stated, “there seem to be a lot more people getting in trouble this year than previous years, it’s more the people that live in the house that get in trouble rather than the people attending the parties.”
College students often brush off their university’s warnings related to partying, but IC students are beginning to consider the serious consequences of throwing on campus parties. If written up by an RA, RD, or public safety, a college student can face written warnings, disciplinary probation and community service, among other things. But the weightier repercussions include suspension, expulsion and removal from housing.
Due to public safety’s increased presence, a small group of friends gathering at the apartments is becoming more common than the ragers that sometimes occurred on IC’s campus, pushing students towards off-campus house parties and into the territory of the Tompkins County Sheriff.
“I do think that public safety should prefer parties on campus than off campus — wouldn’t they rather us be on campus in walking distance from home than far away and getting an unreliable ride home?” said Macdonald, voicing an opinion that a lot of students seem to have.
If public safety were to loosen up, they would fear losing control of the students and increasing the risk of safety issues, but students are hassled by trying to find a reliable ride home or climbing up Ithaca’s cruel hills in the already chilly night time temperatures.
“I attended college, I know its been awhile, but I went to Ohio State. So I know how it is to be a college student and I try to take that into consideration. Part of the college experience, if you would, is trying new things, whether that’s the alcohol for the first time or whatever, so we try take that into consideration because we know that’s part of becoming an adult” said Dray.
So the age-old tap dance between citizens and authority begins again. How strict can public safety be without facing outright disregard for safety measures and how far can students go without getting in trouble? While students may be annoyed with public safety’s crack down of campus policy, at least University Taxi is happy with their recent influx of cash.
Marisa Wherry is a freshman culture and communication major whose Gatorade bottle is really full of…Gatorade. Email her at mwherry1[at]ithaca.edu.