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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Hofstra Alumni Disappointed by SB Police

    Dear Editors,

    An incident on April 17 is the reason I’m writing in response to Monday’s article ‘Security safety at LI schools.’ If I were a student at Stony Brook University, I’d feel extremely disappointed in the way my school’s security officers handled unusual situations.

    I was attending a workshop sponsored by the L.I. Music Hall of Fame on the campus of Stony Brook University, which ended at approximately 11:15 p.m. Upon returning to my car, which I had parked in a pay-for-parking garage, I discovered that the garage had been locked for the night, and that my car was stuck in the garage.

    I began walking around the campus to try and find assistance. To my dismay I could not locate any ‘blue light’ emergency phones, which I knew of from my days as a Hofstra University undergrad. I was able to walk into several buildings, no swipe-card required, to try and find assistance. When I was a student at Hofstra, I needed to swipe my student ID to access almost every building on campus – right down to the Student Center and the radio station.

    At about 11:45 p.m., I walked into the library. At the front desk, a student clerk dialed the campus police and handed me the phone. After I finished asking for help, I chatted with the student for a few minutes.

    ‘The officer said they were in the middle of a shift change,’ I told the student. ‘He said it would probably be a little while before they can send someone to help me.’

    Laughing a little, the student responded, ‘Yeah, I’m not surprised. That’s what they always say.’

    I returned to my car by midnight, locked the doors and pulled up to the exit gate to await my officer-in-shining-armor. I watched people come and go, students walking in pairs or by themselves, cars passing the garage on a nearby road. At 1:00 a.m., I was still waiting for assistance. I called the campus police again, and was told to continue waiting.

    ‘This is a police department, miss,’ the officer said. ‘We have emergency situations to attend to.’

    To me, this was an emergency. Just the previous day, a student at Virginia Tech decided to make a statement by shooting 32 people. As a young lady marooned in that parking garage while the campus police successfully completed their ‘shift change’ – well, I felt like a sitting duck.

    At about 1:30 a.m., an officer pulled up and attempted to open the gate with an access card. He was unsuccessful, and called another officer for assistance. A few minutes later the second officer arrived, and tried his own access card. This too failed. They made another call, talked amongst themselves for a moment. Finally, their solution was to tell me how to have my car jump the curb and maneuver around the gate. Which I was reluctant to do in my little Toyota Corolla – but I was faced with no other alternative. Had my car been damaged in any way, I’d have been stranded again, an hour’s drive from home without a car.

    The overall picture painted by the Stony Brook campus police was their shift change was more important than the fact that a young woman was stuck in a parking garage. I got the impression that Stony Brook is a collection of fragmented pieces, rather than one whole unit that worked together for a common goal. Additionally, it really made me appreciate the ways that Hofstra University made me feel safe when I was a student there.

    Sincerely,

    Christine Sampson

    Hofstra Alumni ’02

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