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the Gauntlet

Fall semester campus security report

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Again, the time has come for the Gauntlet security report: our periodical cavalcade of the dangers, excitement and depravity that campus security gallantly deals with on a daily basis.

With the fall semester in full swing and students coming out of the tail end of midterms, summer for most seems like a distant memory. But for campus security, the battles won under the 2011 sunshine will not be soon forgotten, as the University of Calgary got its fair share of high profile visits and bizarre student encounters. July presented our security team with one of its biggest challenges to date: dealing with the marauding hordes of grandmothers, young monarchists and Kate Middleton enthusiasts pillaging campus during Will and Kate's U of C visit. As a general rule, any location where royalty will be present requires two specific things: tight security and a spotless toilet. Lanny Fritz, head of U of C campus security, found out that the two sometimes go hand in hand.

"Prior to the visit, we had two meetings with Scotland Yard, the RCMP, and city police to put together a plan so we would have no issues when the visit took place," said Fritz.

"We had to set aside a royal bathroom. The room had to be sniffed out by dogs, and a guard had to be posted in case a washroom was required."

August was mostly quiet, with considerably few -- but sometimes strange -- incidents. For one special day, the library got a little less classy as a student was caught in one of the most brazen viewings of pornography ever recorded on campus. The student shared a stern word with campus security after watching porn on a public computer, resulting in the student being kicked out of the MacKimmie Library, hopefully teaching him a lesson about where it's appropriate to watch a skin flick. If a stranger is sitting beside you, it's probably not a good time.

Once September arrived and the relative calm of the summer had passed, campus security had returned to its normal routine of cleaning up the mess created by ThursDen. In September alone, students' most hallowed tradition of drinking until they embarrass themselves had already produced two close calls, and two distinct lessons for all new U of C students.

Lesson one: if a man approaches you outside the Den and says he is a talent scout for a modeling agency, he's probably not and it's probably time to call Safewalk.

In a shameless display of sleaze, a male was apprehended in early September after chatting up women by the smoke pit, saying he worked for an agency that was currently looking for new talent. When campus security contacted the agency, they confirmed that he was not a talent scout.

Lesson two: passing out in a random location is not a very safe thing to do. A U of C student learned this the hard way after passing out on the CTrain station platform and falling onto the tracks in mid-September. By the time campus security showed up, witnesses had already pulled the student back onto the platform, and the U of C had marginally averted a tragedy.

Alcohol has also been a problem outside Den activity, as a number of busts involving students with open liquor have been reported on campus. In recent years the number of incidents has been on the rise.

"One of the new trends that we're seeing among students is there's more use of open alcohol on campus, which is illegal and against the Alberta liquor and gaming act," said Fritz.

"I understand that many students partake in open alcohol before coming to the bar because it's much cheaper, but we do get people who consume too much in a short period of time and end up going to the hospital. If we catch a student with alcohol, we make every effort to get the student to cooperate and dump out the liquor."

Outside of alcohol related incidents, the most common problems have been thefts and acts of vandalism. As of Oct.1, losses from all incidents are valued at $249,497.67, up $1,412.09 from the same time last year.

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