So, as you may have heard from our illustrious web editor Dan Bagley recently, our school has been broken into. Again. Yes, that’s right, I said again and I even made the word it’s own sentence for emphasis because this is the third time this semester alone. Three times in 4-5 weeks, can you believe that? Would you believe that this isn’t even the first time that the campus administration knew there was a problem? A break-in happened approximately six months ago, and campus police made a recommendation (as is described in their jobs so far as campus security is concerned) that there be a change of the known vulnerable locks. Considering pretty much everything before this sentence, I’m sure you can guess what their (administration) answer was. The reason? It would have been too expensive.
During the fallout of the Harrington pay raise debacle, the then-board bum-rushed in a politically unpopular raise despite the outcry, they decided to sacrifice the security of the campus – our campus – because of money?! An 18 percent pay cut across the board for all faculty, over 30-plus staff and classifieds laid off, the transfer center is closed, and they can’t find the pittance to change the locks after a crime is committed against our school?! Granted, the process would likely take a few thousand dollars but considering the millions of dollars within the budget, that would make the expense of changing the damnable locks and thus closing such an enormous vulnerability cost less than a dozen 100ths of a percentage point of the overall fiscal budget!
There is a phrase I like to use when confronted to such short-sighted idiocy: So stupid it’s broke.
Fast forward six months to early this February when the front desks of the library were rifled through. The would-be thieves used the same key that was implicated in last year’s break-in, and while nothing was stolen according to information given to The Prospector, it seems reasonable to think they knew what they were looking for. Our own beloved Tracy Johnson at the front desk said that at the time the crime was first reported it looked like they were looking for the strong box where the library keeps all its money. Campus police were told, and you know what I bet they did? They probably made the same recommendation they did six months ago.
Skipping ahead 3-4 weeks, closer to the now, the offices adjacent the student store, along with a counseling office, were broken into. Campus president and connecting offices were opened, Girl Scout cookies were taken and a literal trail of crumbs (plus a half-eaten box carried from one building to another according to police) led to the Flavors Restaurant office. Finally, after the exact same crime struck the administration, something was done about it.
Do they know how that looks? Do they know how easily I can argue that it seems like the administration doesn’t care about a problem until it affects them and damn the students? Because I can, you know, and I even know how I’d frame it: We’ve officially graduated from broken stupidity to malicious incompetence.
And so here we are, today, March 14th, I’m accusing the administration of incompetence bordering on actively trying to screw things up regarding campus security, and the school gets hit again. This time it’s the front office, or rather the administration building next to the front office. Several rooms are ransacked, according to an anonymous source, including those of the Vice Chancellor, Al Alt. But,you might be asking yourself, since I just told you that the administration finally removed the thumbs up their butts and decided to do something, how’d this happen again, and so soon after the Girl Scout cookie fiasco?
Well, as it turns out, what the administration chose to do, that is, how they chose to fix the problem, was quite possibly the stupid-estly slowest route available. Rather than call some locksmiths, explain the problem, and give them the information needed to rectify it (like a sensible person), they chose to conduct a “written Request For Proposal (RFP) process”, or, basically, to write the locksmiths a letter. So what’s the big deal? Writing is significantly slower than phoning. How significantly? One can take hours to days, the other takes days to weeks. Apparently no one could open their schedules enough to take care of a little something like breaking and entering at an institute of higher learning, the cornerstone of entire communities.
Editor’s Note: A well-documented “Verbal Request For Proposal” process is allowable under federal, state, and Ed Code law and is, obviously, much quicker than a written RFP process.