By Erin Grable, Staff Writer
Many returning students have noticed an apparent increase in police officers on campus at Young Harris College. Students feel like the police on campus and in the surrounding counties are cracking down, resulting in more YHC students that are getting in trouble this year as compared to last year.
“This year there is definitely more security on campus than there was last year. The police seem to be everywhere,” said Bo Edgemon a sophomore media communication major from Kennesaw. “The school seems to be stricter. They look for parties a lot more this year.”
However, the Chief of the Police Department on campus at YHC, Chief Ken Henderson, assures us that it is nothing of that sort. According to Henderson, the fact that police are more visible on campus has nothing to do with campus police having stricter standards of enforcement.
“Winship always feels so safe with the cops watching our every single move,” said anonymous members of the Winship residence hall.
According to Henderson, there have maybe been four or five cases of possession of alcohol by a minor on campus, or MIPs. He also stated that these MIP citations have been given, but the number is a very small amount.
The campus police are putting more time and energy in the area of issuing parking tickets. As far as crime, there is not really an issue according to Henderson.
“As painful as it is to give tickets, it is hard not to because of the parking issue,” said Henderson. “We have adequate parking, but it is hard to get the students to park where they are supposed to park. It may be inconvenient parking,
but students can always call for a ride from the cadets.”
The police department on campus has replaced a couple of officers who were here last year. These police officers decided to leave for other job opportunities; therefore, more officers had to be added to replace the existing officers’ positions. The campus police also needed to hire more part-time officers, because so many events have been added to campus, which called for additional coverage.
“The visibility of cops on campus is more noticeable this year because of the increase in events on campus, like more sports events” said Henderson. “Coverage is better this year.”
Police Chief Henderson also explained that the 24-hour presence of YHC police has also contributed to the perceived increase in visibility.
To help with the coverage YHC has begun a student cadet program through the campus police department. The program is designed to help the police department assist students on campus. The student police cadets are there to help the police department by patrolling the campus alongside an officer, assisting students to their destinations who come in during the late hours and by driving students to class on the police department’s golf cart.
Some of the students that choose to be a part of the cadet program may have an interest in law enforcement or the study of law, though this is not always the case.
According to Police Chief Henderson, the cadet program is a great opportunity for the students involved to see what law enforcement is really about.
“Our goal is to serve the students, college and the community, said Henderson. “We hope the students see that we are here to help them. We do not want to be seen as the enemy.”
When asked about how increased police coverage on campus has affected student life, the Office of Student Development did not return comments.
By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
Late Wednesday afternoon, Towns County Sheriff deputies were called to respond to what was characterized by Young Harris College campus police as “a minor automobile accident” in front of Sharp United Methodist Church, immediately to the west of Goolsby Hall.
While an ambulance was present at the scene of the accident, it left without transporting any persons. An elderly man was seen with a dime-sized laceration on his forehead, but otherwise he appeared fine. No other major injuries are known of at this time. No YHC students, faculty or staff are believed to have been involved in the accident.
UPDATE1 (8:14 p.m., 09/22/10): Corrected location of Sharp UMC, added information about YHC to last paragraph.
Dillon Sutherland, Staff Writer
On August 31,the Campus Activity Board or CAB hosted an “Hang up and Drive” on the Plaza to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. CAB hoped the event would persuade many Young Harris College students to put the phone down while behind the wheel.
At the plaza the YHC Police Department set up a driving obstacle course where students would go through once while just driving, and then again while texting at the same time. Many students attempted the course and results varied, although most failed at the texting and driving part.
If the student failed, the student had to sign a large sign stating, “I pledge that I will not text and drive.” After signing the statement, students then painted their hands red and put their handprint on a large banner. The red hand print symbolized the blood on their hands from driving while texting. . Along with an obstacle course, CAB provided a slideshow presentation through a projector. The presentation went through the facts and statistics about the dangers of texting and driving.
This event caught the attention of several YHC students. “We’re just trying to spread awareness,” said CAB member and coordinator of the event, Courtney Caron, a sophomore communication major. “We value all Young Harris students. We want all students to be here as long as they can and to prevent accidents.”
The obstacle course demonstrated to several students the potential dangers of texting and driving. Many students were compelled to take the pledge.
“I hit about twelve cones,” said Dontavious Scott, a freshman music theatre major, “I think it’s pretty fascinating because I can’t drive. I found out I can’t text and drive either. I definitely think it helped raise awareness.”
On July 1 Georgia passed a new texting and driving law. This law prohibits sending texts, receiving texts and reading texts, while operating a motor vehicle. Consequences include a $150 dollar fine and one point on your driver’s license. Some
Students believed that the “Hang up and drive” event helped bring the attention to the new law and let them experience the risks involved.
“I really liked the event,” said Kelly Bryson, a freshman biology major, “I personally don’t text and drive. I’ve lost a couple friends in texting and driving accidents. I’m glad that the campus is trying to reach out and raise awareness; and plus, I get to drive a police vehicle. I’d also like to see a drinking and driving one.”
Stephanie Sexton, Staff Writer
“I think that parking is going to be a problem and it is going to grow as our enrollment grows; it is something that needs to be addressed. I think other solutions need to be looked at,” said business and public policy senior Matthew Kammerer.
While Kammerer considers that enrollment at Young Harris College is at a record breaking high, parking has not changed much since years past.
The new additions to parking for students this year, besides the usual spaces behind Enotah, Rollins, and Hillgrove, in front of Manget, and beside Winship, are the few spaces in front of Maxwell, spaces behind the old gym, and of course, the Annex across the street.
Right now, these parking spaces are enough. According to Susan Rogers,vice president of student development, there are458 parking decals registered to students. That number is to date, meaning it can change at any time. So, right now, we have enough parking.
The only problem now is the inconvenience of some of the parking spots.
“Everyone, obviously, would not just like a place to park, but also a convenient place to park,” said Rogers.
But what happens when our problem grows from just inconvenience, and more of the six hundred plus students start to bring their vehicles to campus?
As of right now, no plans are in place to relieve the parking pressure the students feel on campus.
“While there are long term plans for places, nothing is going to happen immediately,” said Rogers.
So for now, not only residents, but also commuters, faculty, staff and visitors will just have to duke it out to find parking around campus, or park in the Annex across the street and walk.
Once students find a place to park, they must make sure it is the right place to park. Depsite not all of the lots having proper signage in front of them and some of the lotsnot having any signage at all, all vehicles were ticket-enforced starting on August 27.
Kammerer said, “Temporary signage needs to be put up so people know where to park.”
In fact, most the complaints made to the Student Government President have been about warnings being put on student’s vehicles, when they thought they were in a proper spot.
Rogers rebutted with, “We do not want to go around every semester to invest time and money yanking up old signs and putting up new signs, especially if we think the usage patterns are going to change over time because then you are just spending a lot of money on something that isn’t going to be permanent anyway.”
So until parking areas become permanent, everyone is going to have figure out where to park, and hope a ticket does not show up on their window.