Security’s fostering of mistrust

It would be safe to say that a new security policy, permitting security to patrol the halls of dorms without having been explicitly called in to do so, has raised some controversy in the Colby community.

I first became aware of the policy during an overcrowded dorm meeting the week classes began. It was mentioned in passing among slew of information concerning courtesy hours and CA availability, and I took it in stride, tucked it away into a corner of my mind, and let it ruminate there for the next few weeks until I decided to write about it in this piece.

I had better state before I get ahead of myself that my purpose is not to portray Colby’s security staff in a negative light. They were, in fact, very cooperative in speaking with me concerning the new policy.

The member of Colby security whom I spoke to explained that, in practice, the new policy would not be all that different from the previous one. Security, he explained, would try their best to protect student autonomy, allowing CAs to handle infractions before stepping in themselves. He also noted that he did not think it was fair that entire dorms pay for damages of a few students, many of whom, he pointed out, did not even live in the dorms in which they committed damage.

But like many other Colby students, I do not feel fully on board with the new policy. I feel as though the policy somewhat infringes on my autonomy, but I think I would be more willing to give up some of that autonomy were I to live in a dorm in which the aforementioned infractions are more common, and when I disregard that apprehension, I realize that I do not have a problem with the policy itself. The expansion of jurisdiction seems to me, as an anonymous sophomore noted, an effective way to drop rates of such infractions as dorm damage.

But like that sophomore, I am concerned with the way in which the policy is being marketed to students: as a way for security to interact with and demystify themselves to Colby students. On the contrary, it seems to be more effectively alienating students.

If the purpose of the policy is for security to meet students, and to foster trusting relationships with them, it is a failed attempt to do so because it seems to be having precisely the opposite effect. Of all the students with whom I spoke, none of them, not even the ones in support of the policy, were entirely comfortable with it. They all felt like it imposed on their privacy, regardless of whether or not they thought its potential benefits of were worth the loss of that privacy, and this unification by mutual discomfort makes me hesitant to consider this policy an effective means of fostering trust between Security and Colby students.

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