University response to CTA article disrespectful, unfair
Published: Friday, May 11, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
“The act of stealing and/or possessing CTA signage is illegal and a felony, not to mention an embarrassing reflection on DePaul University. These actions will not be tolerated by the Departments of Housing Services or Residential Education," said a letter from the Department of Housing Services and Residential Education sent out on May 9 to all DePaul students.
“With information in hand that CTA was missing an ample amount of train signage, Housing staff conducted an entire campus search on Monday, May 7,” the letter explained.
“They searched my room and took a Red Line map that my sister had given me, I think her friend had given it to her or something like that,” said sophomore Gabrielle Lahue.
“I think it's outrageous what they did, especially as I heard stories of RA's barging into rooms after knocking and not waiting for a response,” said freshman at University Hall, SJ O'Donnell. “I think that their searching of rooms, assuming we have signs violates many of our privacy rights.”
Questions have continuously come up since last week as to what should have been done differently, or, should anything have been done at all considering that the stealing of “L” maps is not exactly something new, and not something that happens just at DePaul.
“I think that instead of raiding everyone's rooms, they should have sent an email out to all students giving us the option to turn them in 'peacefully',” said LaHue. “I would have had no problem turning in my map if I had known it was a problem to own it.”
Barging into someone’s room without prior notice is something that is not only startling but a distasteful and disrespectful action against the inhabitants' privacy. In a dorm room, you are in a sense considered a tenant and the university can be considered the landlord. Being a tenant carries an implied entitlement to a peaceful occupation of your tenancy, most of the time. This signifies that nobody, not even the landlord can enter into your tenancy without prior notice.
“The “L” maps make a pretty sweet souvenir, and it's something sweet to hang up in the dorm rooms. However, it is stolen property. When you live in the dorms, housing is responsible. So raids for 'stolen goods' (in this case, CTA maps) are what we accept when we live in dorms,” said freshman Santheep Surendra. “I think that the RA’s went about this rather respectfully too. They knocked on the door, waited, then came in and looked around and did not open any desks or closets probably to avoid actual invasion of privacy. I am sure the CTA contacted every college in Chicago to run a raid and get their maps back.”
“Nothing like this has happened here that I know of,” said freshman at Loyola Jessica Kaminski. “I definitely think the university shouldn’t be responsible for what the students did or did not steal, it’s not like this “L” map thing has just started happening.”
Which brings about another issue, kids across Chicago have been stealing map signs for generations. The simple fact that a student wrote and reported on these events happening should not be cause for a school-wide invasion.
“I know a bunch of kids with “L” maps, whether bought or stolen I don’t know, but they are everywhere,” said Kaminski. “This has been going on for ages, and it’s crazy for the CTA and DePaul to retaliate that way.”
“All I can say is that I've seen this going on since my freshmen year, and I think it's extremely inappropriate for the school to get involved,” said junior at Roosevelt Pat Graff. “The students are adults and should be treated as such, and the CTA should handle this issue themselves. I haven't checked my email but I'm sure [Roosevelt] will react the same.”
How can a university attempt to control what decisions its students do or do not make? Simple answer, it unfortunately can't.
“I understand that DePaul had to react in some way to the CTA being upset,” said senior at UIC Nicole Wyszynki. “If they didn't react then there would be a possibility of the students U-Pass situation being messed up, but honestly, this L map stealing happens everywhere. People who don't even live in Chicago do this.”
“I think that the university reacted appropriately given the fact that it really is...well...stolen public property,” said freshman Kaya Gross. “I think that it just came as a shock because it happened so fast and so many people were caught off guard by it. Naturally, people aren't going to like the fact that administration can come into their room and take things, even if it was stolen property. As shocked as I was I feel, in hindsight, that what they did was probably correct.”
Regardless of an article being published reporting on “L” maps being stolen, there are other ways to control the situation than ransacking every dorm for justice. One solution seems obvious: start by making the maps impossible to steal. Some “L” trains have already begun this, bolting the maps to the frames, which is something that should have been done a long time ago when this first became a problem for the CTA.