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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    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.


    Christine Sampson

    Hofstra Alumni ’02

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