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Visitation policy: protection or oppression?

With the recent introduction of a visitation policy on the campus of Grambling State University, students have said they feel a sense of disconnection from the current atmosphere. 


Meanwhile, the Grambling State University Police Department has defended their actions.


In an effort to regain control of who is on campus, GSUPD has issued a visitation policy. The visitation policy applies to all University residents and their guests. The policy allows for residents and visitors to interact in the designated residential community.


However, students have reported being stopped after 10 p.m. and escorted off campus or ticketed if they cannot provide student identification. 


In addition, students have been vocal in their opposition to GSUPD fines issued for soliciting, invalid parking and detritus usage surrounding selective dormitories.


The concerns have arisen following the appointment of Carlos Kelly as GSU’s Chief of the University Police Department. 


Kelly said GSU’s open campus makes students accessible to people who are not students and may not have the best intentions.   


“Our job as campus police is to secure the safety measurements for our staff and students.” Kelly said. “We have a lot of active outsiders on this campus that require additional patrolling to assure the safety for our enrolled students.”


The visitation policy has driven sharp criticism from GSU students.


“As a freshman, I did not enroll in college to be publicly profiled,” Desiree Harrison said. “Your job as a campus policeman is to protect and serve not harass.”


Tyree Burnett, 20, a junior majoring in mass communication  at GSU, expressed his concern with the current patrolling.


 “I don’t feel safe, I feel oppressed,” Burnett said. “I should never feel like I’m in a predicament at an HBCU where students are being profiled or singled out.”


It is imperative that students feel safe on their campus, and although policemen reassure that safety, many students still have reported feeling vulnerable. 


Enforcement of the visitation policy comes after a shooting incident last year resulting in the death of 23-year-old senior Earl Andrews, and his friend, Monquiarius Caldwell.


Grambling State University is reportedly just one of several universities dealing with violence on campus. According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, students on the campuses of HBCUs advocate their discernment on campus policing. 


Based on the Annual Security and Fire Safety 2017 Report provided by campus police there has been a major up-tick in multiple crimes and incidents both on campus and within campus housing. 


Burglaries have been an ongoing problem on the campus for the past years. This year there was a reported 40 reported cases on campus in 2016 compared to 31 cases in the previous year. Campus housing cases have also increased with a reported 37 cases in 2016. A 25 increase in reported cases when compared to 2015, with only 12 cases.


Robberies have increased from 4 reported cases in 2015 to 5 reported cases in 2016 on campus. Campus housing incidents share similar increases with 5 reported cases in 2016 versus 3 reported cases in 2015.


Aggravated results are present on campus with a reported 12 cases in 2016 when compared to 6 reported cases in 2015. Similar increases in aggravated assaults can be seen in campus housing, 7 reported cases in 2016 versus 4 reported cases in 2015.


Reportedly, there has been an increase of over 64 reported incidents of simple assault on campus, compared to a reported 0 incidents in 2016. There is a similar increase in simple assault incidents on campus housing, a reported 43 cases in 2016 compared to 0 cases in 2015.


Additionally, there have been a handful of cases of forcible sexual offenses, domestic violence and weapons violations.


On campus, there were 3 reports of forcible sexual offenses, 3 reports of domestic violence and 2 arrests made on weapons violation all in 2016 when compared to the previous year (1 reported case of forcible sexual offenses, 0 weapons violation and 0 reported domestic violence cases). In campus housing there was increase in all forcible sexual offenses, domestic violence and weapons violations arrests, a reported 2 cases in 2016 when compared to 0 reported cases in 2015.