By: Alondra Ramos
On Sept. 11, 2014, a release was sent out informing students about someone disrupting classes in an attempt to sell tickets to off campus events. The individual was eventually found and escorted off of campus. This was not the first time strangers to the John Jay Community have found ways onto campus.
Most CUNY Campuses are quasi open. According to the 2008 Clery Disclosures of John Jay, this means that visitors on campus must present a form of photo identification, state their business at the college, and are required to sign in. Individuals are then allowed on campus.
Despite these security measures, people off the street are still finding their way into campus. Ryan Eustace, risk management and ethics manager in the Department of Public Safety, said, “these people go to every school in New York City, like other CUNY and SUNY campuses, so they know how to work a system. They say I’m here to go to admissions. So they gain access.”
It is the job of these individuals to go from school to school in order to get students to buy tickets that may or may not be legitimate. According to the release, the tickets that the individual was soliciting were yet to be determined if they were legitimate or not.
Once inside campus, these individuals go around the campus and find classrooms to talk to students and professors. Elizabeth Porchiazzo, a junior, witnessed this event a few semesters ago. “A girl came into my Psychology and Law class offering something from student affairs and started to talk about paintball tickets. My professor stopped her and asked who gave her permission to do this. She just said some professor said she could. He stopped her mid sentence and told her to leave or he would call security.”
When security is called in, the public safety officers around campus escort the trespassers off campus. Eustace said that these are not violent individuals but very disruptive. “We don’t tolerate it. If we find these people and they aren’t members of the college community they are removed”.
Byron Martinez, an auxillary officer, says there are certain steps before determining if someone is a theat. “With precaution, we check eyes, hands and feet for signs of threat. We use calm voices and body language to ensure there is no threat.”
“If the person fails to cooperate, we try to explain to the person or group that this is a disturbance and to respect the environment,” continues Martinez.
Although this happens, Eustace said it is rare to ever get individuals that fail to cooperate, as they rarely issue summons and the trespassers usually leave voluntarily.
“This happens from time to time. It’s not very common but it does happen. I’m sure it happens in other schools. Some of the individuals we’ve dealt with here that other CUNY campuses have dealt with,” says Eustace.
Porchiazzo is unsettled by the idea, “because people can get into the school, maybe with a weapon,” others seem unsure and practically unmoved by this knowledge.
“I didn’t know that it happened but I guess I would report it,” said Andrew Schwarz, a lower senior.
“I had no idea that this goes on. I would report it if I feel unsafe but otherwise it wouldn’t really bother me,” said Nicole Lippold, a first semester freshman.
Having people selling event tickets on campus confuses students as well because there is no indication of which events are school sanctioned.
Kyle Roberts, a senior and member of Student Council, said. “Student Council always makes the attempt to offer tickets to events at a lower cost just for students. We understand that money is indeed an issue for many and keeping things at a lower cost is always our goal. Having people come in and sell tickets to other events is a problem. This could affect our sales as well”.
The issue of safety and security is handled as best they can. “We want it to be like this. You don’t want a restrictive campus. You don’t want a police state. So it’s faculty, members and students who see these things and they have to report it. And then we send out release,” said Eustace.
Keeping an eye out for strangers walking around campus and reporting them quickly and at present time is the best way to keep the campus as safe as possible. Students have other ideas for how to prevent this from happening.
“The school can perform checks or have security more aware of the events and entrances around school” said Roberts.
“They [Security] can make it harder for them to get in. ID, drivers license, and a referral from wherever they say they are going to, for starters,” said Porchiazzo.
Schwarz said, “we can have guards patrol around classrooms during class time so they don’t find their way into classes”.
Martinez understands that our campus always has people walking in and out, but these people have to respect that the facilities are being used for educational purposes. To lower the amount of trespassers, “they need to fix the human error in security guards. Refresh their memories and train them for every drill. It’s alright to fail but we can learn from our mistakes.”
Another problem is that some students don’t know how to contact the right people.
“It doesn’t really make me feel any less safe but I don’t know how to contact them, no,” said Lippold.
Roberts also does not know how to contact the department but would definitely report this.
Everyone has ideas for what they believe is best to keep the campus open and safe. It is the responsibility of everyone on campus; faculty, students and officers, to be aware and vigilante about what goes and whom to contact.
“I’ve reported on two occasions,” said Porchiazzo with a smile. “It felt right to say something when I knew it was off.”
The Department of Public Safety asks faculty and students to report anything they hear or see as soon as possible. This ensures the fastest response and a better and safer community at John Jay.
To contact the office of public safety:
Call 212-237-8524 for any reports.
Call 212-237-8888 for emergencies only
and/or email [email protected]