When was the last time you saw a “Community Service Officer” doing anything involving the betterment of our UCSB community or any “service” to our campus citizens? They provide no feeling of communal upholding – rather, they destroy it – and the only service I’ve seen CSOs perform is servicing themselves while they wait to do something crucial to protect our campus and its students.
When I think community service, I think planting trees to decrease levels of carbon dioxide or reading to underprivileged children; rarely, I suspect, would a person connect bike impoundment to a thought of societal contribution. Tell me, CSOs, when bike spots are lacking, should we say, take our bikes into class with us, informing our perplexed professors, “The CSOs suggested I do this because it was the only option to abide by the law”? Fine. Bikes need to be parked in bike racks, but when all spots are taken, parking by a tree or near the bike racks should not be a violation of this crucial law – it should be common sense. If there are no spots left for my bike, putting the bike near the bike rack seems rather a good train of thought.
Oh, and thank you for those lovely warnings, saying, “You better watch out, you are parked illegally.” Now our campus is littered with bright green and orange and whatever colored papers, causing people that actually do community service to clean up your good deed of a fair warning. Parking a bike a little away from a bike rack… that’s a crime! Wasting hundreds of tickets no one gives a shit about… smart! If this thought-processing is supposed to make us grateful for you not taking our bikes on-sight, just know that it just makes us dislike you more for your “favor” of a warning apparently spawned by your communal passion, which you greatly are without.
Another issue: When was the last time you or a friend called a CSO for protection? That is their job, right? While not wanting to discriminate against men or women or weight, it may be a good idea to hire people who actually intimidate potential assailants. Maybe CSOs feel that their large assortment of policelike accessories, such as flashlights and huge rings of keys, look intimidating. Is shining a light on someone and saying, “Hey you!” while shaking your keys frightening? Maybe if you were invisible. But you’re not – you are actually wearing a bright yellow shirt. Maybe that’s it – maybe it’s the yellow shirt. Does UCSB purposefully admit a high percentage of students with xanthophobia (the fear of yellow) to increase the probability of assailants avoiding CSOs instead of chasing after them for their deep hatred of getting their bikes impounded for derisory reasoning? This I highly doubt.
If anyone who is currently a CSO wants to be a cop later in life, fine. Drop out of school, learn your favorite doughnut and make sure you get a bigger flashlight. But when I see a CSO strutting around campus with a swaggered walk and darting eyes, like someone is going to whip out a gun, proclaim insanity and start some serious mayhem, I think: If only you knew how unimportant your presence is, even in the wake of serious mayhem. If the only service people provide is a feeling of anguish and a random emotion of burning rage, maybe they should reconsider their job positions. Not the swagger nor the shirt intimidate me. And if you are going to do good for this community, pick up your trashed tickets and go recycle them. At least you would have saved the environment.
Suzanne Heibel is a freshman environmental studies major.