This article originally appeared in ZU News.
On Sept. 30, senior business economics major Jacob Yackley led a protest outside Adams Hall against Campus Safety’s ticketing policy. According to Interim Chief Timothy Finneran, the policy taken from the California Vehicle Code 22450 allows Campus Safety to send students stop sign related citations via email without proof of the violation.
“The goal of the protest was to shed light on the abusive power that Campus Safety has and the fact that there’s no accountability for the stuff that they do,” Yackley said. “Furthermore, if they are to give tickets to people, there should be adequate proof provided. Otherwise, they shouldn’t do it.”
Yackley held the protest in support of his roommate, senior psychology major Michael Fenton, who received a Campus Safety ticket by email. The citation was for rolling through a stop sign on campus.
“My roommate tried to go talk to Campus Safety and dispute it,” Yackley said. “They rejected his dispute. They said, ‘Pay it in seven days, otherwise it will go on your student account.’ Something didn’t sit right with me about that.”
As many as 15 people gathered at the protest. Many were friends of Yackley or Fenton, although several bystanders joined as well.
During the protest, four campus safety officers approached Yackley. A lieutenant also spoke with Yackley and got his information in order to set up a meeting to address the issue.
“It started off a little aggressive, but in the end it was productive in the sense that we talked about our concerns, and I think they saw our perspective,” Yackley said.
Finneran, however, did not share Yackley’s view.
“It had no impact. We continue to write citations at the stop signs on campus,” Finneran said.
Finneran explained that since his officers are on foot, they are unable to pursue someone in a car. Therefore, the officers write down the car’s make and model, license plate number, driver description and direction of travel, and then write the citation.
“As [the officer is] witness to the violation, that’s their proof of the violation of the law,” Finneran said. “We don’t have a video camera or personal video camera systems that our officers wear at this time. We’re looking into that.”
Finneran was not the only one to suggest that a camera system could help solve the problem.
“If there was a video camera on my roommate’s ticket, I would not be [at this protest] right now,” Yackley said.
One of Yackley’s friends, senior business major Jonathan Vasquez, noted this as well. Vasquez’s father is a retired Cathedral City police officer.
“[A camera system] would definitely back them up and make things less controversial,” Vasquez said. “If they’re going to keep ticketing and just put your ticket in your mailbox, then I think they need some kind of proof.”
The meeting between the Campus Safety lieutenant and Yackley is meant to address this issue and possibly talk about setting up a budget for a camera system. However, this meeting has not taken place yet, and as of now, the policy will not change.
“I just want to encourage all students, staff and visitors to drive safely on the campuses. I’ve witnessed several incidents personally here,” Finneran said. “Statistics say about 7,000 deaths per year are attributed to collisions where people don’t stop for stop signs, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”
The current citation system at APU has been in place since 2011.
“The citations DCS issues are administrative, but future plans are to attach the violations to DMV records,” Finneran said.
The APU vehicle code is available online at www.apu.edu/campussafety/services/vehiclecode/www.apu.edu.