Campus Security Arrangements Could Impact City Safety During Protests
Guest speakers and protests on college campuses around the country have grown in intensity as of late, and now colleges such as UC Berkeley are worried that campus security arrangements could force that violence out into the city streets.
Colleges have security protocols in place to keep their students and staff members safe, but what happens when such arrangements can negatively affect the safety of the city they’re in? That’s what Berkeley Major Jesse Arreguín is worrying about.
With an upcoming event at UC Berkeley where conservative speaker Ben Shapiro is expected to speak at 7 p.m. this Thursday, City Council members are concerned that protestors will be pushed out into the city streets. This could create big problems for the police department, retail stores, and the citizens.
Campus security has already started sectioning off areas where no one will be allowed inside after 5 p.m., and leaving little room for protestors – protest group Refuse Fascism is scheduled to attend – to maneuver.
“The university is not an island,” said Arreguín. “There is a city around it… Having these events in the evening so close to downtown and Telegraph Avenue, and having a security plan that inevitably will result in these crowds moving onto city property, impacts the city and local businesses.”
Arreguín also stated that he is frustrated with UC officials for allowing the event to take place at night, but student groups have not been in favor of events taking place during the day, when most students are in class. Arreguín is concerned that the nighttime hours provide more cover for violence and vandalism to take place unseen.
And he does have a right to be concerned. Just last February a protest at UC Berkeley ended up in the city, where vandalism resulted in $600,000 in damage to ATMs and other property was reported.
Berkeley and UC police will have a strong presence during the event, in hopes of keeping any violence at bay.
Campus security is always a top priority, but with protests becoming more violent, it may now become a priority to keep their city and citizens safe, as well.