At eleven o’clock on a recent Sunday night, Castleton State College junior Danielle Landry was driving back onto campus from her hometown. As she turned into each parking lot, all she saw was a sea of cars, and not one empty space. Because of the recent attacks on campus, she found herself struck with the fear of walking back from the South Street parking lot. So she made a conscious decision to park her car in the commuter parking lot behind Babcock Hall.
She felt much safer walking back to her dorm from there. The next morning she went to her car early to move it, only to find that she was given a parking ticket from Public Safety, a penalty for fearing for her own safety.
At a time like this, should Public Safety be generating money from the fear of Castleton’s students?
“They should give it a break for a while since it is such a fearful time for students. Kids shouldn’t have to be scared on their own campus. Their top priority should be the students safety, not where their cars are,” said sophomore Alicia Zraunig.
A similar situation happened to senior Mollie McKenzie.
After coming back from her job late at night, the only parking spot she found was in the South Street parking lot, so she parked her car there and dialed Public Safety’s number — at least three times. After not getting an answer she decided to drive to the front of South House and leave her car there until morning.
Like Landry, McKenzie got a ticket on her windshield for that decision. But instead of just paying it, McKenzie went to Public Safety to challenge the ticket.
She was told to come back another time and try to deal with it.
“Students shouldn’t be scared to walk back from their cars at night, we have Public Safety for a reason, but it is upsetting to hear that they aren’t doing their job. Since we can’t find them reliable, they need to be more understanding when any student doesn’t want to park far away,” said senior Laura Rogers.
Rogers and other students say if students are going to be punished for where they park, Public Safety needs to be more reliable.
“They haven’t changed. They have never been lenient on any of the students and I don’t see them changing their ways now,” said Landry. “It almost makes it seem as if they care more about our money than our safety.”
Bob Godlewski, the head of Public Safety at the school, takes exception to those comments. He said steps have been taken to improve safety of students since the alleged assaults, but he said students can take steps to help them as well.
“Since the assaults, we have had extra escorts on campus at all times. Although the officers may be stationed somewhere else, they do there best to hurry back for the students, but sometimes the students just don’t wait,” he said.
Regarding no one answering the phone in the Public Safety office, Godlewski questioned that.
“I’ve never heard a complaint about it before,” he said. “And we offer a service to the students that if they are ever working late, they can come drop off their schedules to us and that way we can have someone here waiting for them.
“Our main job is the safety of the students and our biggest concern is that everyone is safe ad secure. And if anyone ever has a problem, they can come talk to me.