University Police shouldn’t dicate student education

John Davidson

John Davidson

Unless you literally live under a rock or are completely oblivious to the world around you, you know that police officers around the country are under fire. It started with the Ferguson incident, which stoked a debate on race and police brutality, among other things, and has recently shifted to the police shooting and killing of a black man — by a white officer — in North Charleston. It was a horrendous scene, where the man was fired at eight times from behind while fleeing.

I’m not dismissing the distinct possibility that those two cases were racially driven — they almost assuredly were — but when you strip the problem to its furthest core, it all begins with police abusing their power.

On March 18, The Joplin Globe ran an article about Joplin police officers staking out area bars and essentially entrapping their patrons.

The article provided multiple sources who had been pulled over for reasons such as driving too slow, which isn’t against the law and hardly possible to define on Main Street (where most of the bars are located) when the speed limit is as low as 25 in certain stretches.

Pulling over individuals for leaving a bar obviously isn’t on the same level as shooting an unarmed individual dead in the street, but it is an overreach of power, nonetheless.

Most recently, the University Police Department at Missouri Southern has made a push to stop allowing students into campus facilities after hours — more specifically, a small number of art department students who currently have access to the building until midnight.

The reasoning behind this? The UPD is worried about potential theft. This seems like a genuine enough concern, but when students enter the building, they swipe a card and a record of this data is stored. It seems like the theft trail would be a pretty easy one to follow, but what do I know?

The potential of after-hours access being revoked branches beyond affecting only the few art department students who have access, but also students such as myself who are in campus facilities well after hours to produce a newspaper every week.

Simply put, you cannot let University Police dictate a students’ education. Not only are the officers overstepping their bounds, but they are also directly hindering students’ education by disallowing them to enter a facility after hours that contains a pottery wheel essential to their education.

On Wednesday, April 22, a presentation will be given at Student Senate’s weekly meeting on the topic by one of the students whose access is in question — go support her.