Letter to the Editor: Extra Library Security: The Manifestation of Fear

The Feb 24th issue of the Scout presented an article about how Bradley’s library will have some extra security measures. The reason given is that there are students who “have concerns about security in the library.”

Nowhere in the article was there a mention of data to support the claim, only “concerns” obtained from conversations. It is true that perceptions are important but without data we do not have any idea how many students actually have these concerns.

If the average Bradley student does have a perceived fear of insecurity in the library then other questions should be asked: What are they afraid of? Why? What is causing this fear? This becomes more perplexing especially if there is no material base for this perception.

It is possible that installing these turnstiles will make a salient claim on many minds to say that it was justified and now, consequently, we are (more) safe. The other possibility is that for many the turnstiles are simply an annoyance and a waste of money.

This brings me to another point, there was no mention to how much these turnstiles cost. There is likely an opportunity cost at the expense of more books and access to more journal articles when the library spends money to “improve security.” So far, we have no reason based empirically that security was ever a serious problem.

Why add the security measures? On closer inspection and a look at the latent function of this added security we begin to see a focal point on the aspect of the public.

Is it the “non-Bradley” public students are so afraid of?  Or a better question: Is it the public that Bradley would like students to fear? The public is now required to show government I.D. and sign in and out of the library and will not be allowed to enter past 10 PM.

Whether purposively or not the library (and the university) shows through these actions the public must be monitored as they could be potentially dangerous.

This should not be the message we are sending to anyone on or off campus.

The Peoria public is not a mass of criminals waiting to pounce on poor helpless Bradley students. This added measure of security is an unnecessary farce and will potentially generate an image that disconnects students from the Peoria community at large.

Whether you agree with this analysis or not, think critically for yourselves and look at the evidence available to you to make your own conclusions.