Policing too heavy-handed

Florida A &M Univerity’s homecoming is one of the many highlights of our campus. Current students and alumni come from all over the country to partake in Rattler tradition.

The parades, game and concert are just a few events that bring the FAMU community together. With such a large influx of individuals, security is a must.

However, security for FAMU compared to Florida State University’s homecoming is questionable. During FAMU’s homecoming, you see FAMU PD, Tallahassee PD and Leon county sheriffs. But across the railroad tracks, where are the officers? During FSU’s homecoming, barely any law enforcement is visible, except to assist the flow of traffic. It seems like it would be hard for FSU students to even know when their homecoming is. Even at FAMU’s regular season games the presence of law enforcement is a bit overwhelming. Most students are not coming to fight, but to see the football players in action, or to catch the band during halftime. After FSU games, first of all, no one can get past the traffic because there are not enough officers to direct traffic.

Secondly, students head straight to Tennessee st for a night of debauchery, including bar fights and keg parties. Florida State University reported a total of 1092 alcohol related incidents in the past five years.

FSU students seem to be allowed to drink to the point of passing out in the middle of the streets. Drivers can see FSU students staggering out of the bars onto Tennessee st. If those were FAMU students, Leon County Jail would be over capacity by the night’s end. Not all FSU students behave in this manner, some do. But it is not fair for one group of students to be watched “just in case” something happens, while on the other side of town another group acts as if the law does not exist.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, 255 arrests have been made on FSU property for liquor law violations in 2007- imagine how many were made off-campus. Both university’s students should handle themselves in a civil manner, but the same number of officers should be present, whatever the case.

During FAMU’s homecoming, Tennessee Street has been completely blocked off. For FSU’s homecoming not one street is blocked off. FAMU is the only school to report it is a “dry campus,” and students are not allowed to have alcohol on campus at any function or in university housing. FAMU is the only university on the Governor’s Underage Drinking Task Force. Having officers around does give a sense of security. Sometimes things go down during FAMU’s homecoming. There are robberies, fights, etc.

But with so many officers present, a lot of those incidents were preventable. Shouldn’t some of the criminal activity have been stopped? Both institutions should be treated equally when it comes to special events, especially homecomings.

There should be an equal amount of law enforcement during FSU and FAMU’s homecoming. One group should not be watched like criminals while another acts like hooligans in public.

Corbin Robinson is senior magazine production student from Milwaukee, Wis. She can be reached at famuanopinions@gmail.com.