Is Public Safety Stricter This Year?

Although getting busted by Public Safety has always been a concern of students, it has been more prevalent of a worry this semester. This is due to the fact that students feel that Public Safety has become stricter in enforcing rules and regulations. Some students feel that the majority of punishments have been brought down unjustly upon members of the fraternities. Frank Jonas, a senior member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, concurs with this: “This year is a drastic difference from years past. I feel that fraternities are being cracked down upon unfairly. There is no specific reason as to why the school should be mad at us directly. Yea sure there has been the rape incident, but that did not happen at a fraternity house. The school is making us become a dry house unofficially.” Dylan Troiano, a sophomore member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, agrees. Troiano states, “It is great living in the frat house, but Public Safety is being ridiculous and needs to understand this is a fraternity house and not a freshmen hall…[Public Safety] needs to find other things to do then bust frat houses for no reason.”

Nonetheless, there is always that one fraternity brother who sees the other perspective of the issue. A senior fraternity member who wishes to remain anonymous states, “I have lived in the house for two and a half years and I don’t think this year is any worse than last year… PSafe is only here to enforce the policies and regulations set forth by the administration at Stetson. Basically, getting mad at public safety for doing their job is quite ridiculous. They do not make up the rules or decide what rules should go in the rule book. They are simply told what policies and rules to enforce and they do. That’s like getting mad at a cop for enforcing the law. It’s not the cop’s fault; he is just doing his job.” Some brothers don’t find Public Safety or the school polices ridiculous, yet still yearn for freedom from the so-called restrictive protocols. Tommy Davis, a sophomore member of Phi Sigma Kappa, states, “I really enjoy living in a fraternity house – the only down side is Public Safety. The reason I moved to the house is because I was told that I would have more rights and less restrictions [because] it is a house, not a dorm. Unfortunately, this is not the case.” When asked if Public Safety rules are influencing his decision to live off campus next year, Davis replied, “Yes, with Psafe’s current actions I am now looking for an off campus house next year”. Manal Patal, another sophomore member of Phi Sigma Kappa, somewhat agrees by saying, “I think I would like to live in the house next semester, but I guess I will have to base my decision on what PSafe does for the rest of the semester.”

Contrary to popular belief, Public Safety officers cannot just key in fraternity houses “for the gee whiz of it” says Chief Robert L Matusick. The only time officers are allowed to key in unexpectedly would be in case of an emergency, such as a fire or an assault. However, if officers knock and are greeted with no response whatsoever, they are allowed to key in. Regarding the Animal House reputation that is sometimes associated with fraternities, Chief Matusick does not think that fraternities deserve the negative connotation. Yet, he states that fraternities “need to look within themselves to find out why people are talking like that” and that the poor reputation could be credited with too much partying. He adds, “It doesn’t need to be that way.” Officer Hector Gonzalez concurs by saying, “We don’t give them that label. They give it to themselves. They themselves break the rules. Public Safety does not give them that label. We treat everyone the same.” Both officers state that they are open to change as long as there is a positive result, and are willing to listen to propositions made by fraternities and anyone else for that matter. When asked if he had any further statements to add, Chief Matusick said, “The perception from a lot of people on campus is that Public Safety is out to get them. There is nothing further from the truth. Public Safety is here to make you feel safe. We don’t create the rules, but we have to abide by them. We lose sleep over the fact that there are problems on campus…I want this campus to be as safe as it can be.”

Whether you agree Public Safety is more anal-retentive this semester or not, think of this: is it really worth the fight? The anonymous senior gives insightful advice on how to deal with officers: “1. If you are going to be breaking the rules, DON’T DRAW ATTENTION TO YOURSELF. 2. If PSafe shows up, be respectful. You don’t have to like it, but you can still be respectful. 3. If you were wrong, just act like an adult and own up to it. You know if you are wrong, and the fact is, you got caught. Acting like a child about it will accomplish nothing and further, it begs that question which is, ‘Is this $40,000 education really working for you if you can’t talk civically to another human being?’ ” Like this student mentions, you don’t have to like the authority here, but follow their rules if you don’t want to further fall into hatred with them when you receive repercussions for your illegal actions.

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