Letter to the editor – Sep. 15, 2011

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Over a year ago, University of Regina Campus Security disturbed my classroom and teaching laboratory, disrupted all of my students’ education, publicly embarrassed one of my students and violated that student’s privacy – all over a parking-permit violation.

Following the incident, I initiated many meetings, discussions and email dialogs with the U of R senior administration in an attempt to convince them unnecessarily distracting students in the pursuit of their daily studies for non-safety and non-security issues, whether it be immediately before, during, or immediately after their daily classes, directly opposes one of the primary missions of an educational institution. Despite my best efforts over the last year, the U of R administration continues to defend the need to hunt down students during the daily class schedule for non-safety and non-security issues such as parking violations.

There is no debate that Campus Security, which is an important service unit at the U of R, should have the authority to enforce U of R policies and procedures, but they need to do so far away from any classrooms or laboratories. It is embarrassing that the U of R administration does not appear to recognize how disruptive such a procedure is to student learning. It is embarrassing that the U of R administration is refusing to listen to one of its educators and discontinue a practice that interferes directly with the mission of an educational institution. It is embarrassing that the U of R administration, instead of dealing with the situation, chose to involve the U of R Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Office, which proceeded to accuse one of its faculty of disrespectful conduct without basis.

I have acted in good conscience to ensure the educational environment is protected for my students, and have done so under the rights afforded to me by the U of R Faculty Association and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This procedure must be discontinued immediately to ensure the educational environment educators strive to create, and is critical for student learning remains protected.
The pursuit of students through the hallways by Campus Security should be limited to three situations: when student poses a direct threat to other students, staff, faculty or the university community; when a student has committed a serious crime, such that Campus Security is accompanied by city police; and when Campus Security must deliver emergency information to a student.

Parking permit infractions, and other non-safety and non-security issues, are not on this list.

John Stavrindes
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

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