Thursday, December 08, 2005

Take your dirty hands off…

In the name of protecting the valuables of an organization, security procedures must be in place, and subsequently, there will be rules that govern that organization. It is also true that rules are simple written statements about what needs to be done in a given instance. Rules however do not dictate or explain procedures or protocols of behaviour either by its enforcers or the people on the other side of the coin!

This explanation highlights an incident that occurred today, at the main library of my campus. Regulations say that the library staff have the right to check your bags upon when you leave the building. Obviously since management never thought about a bag handling counter, this ‘rule’ needs to be in place to make sure that library property is not vandalised or stolen. Rules however do not lead to accepted forms of “checking” behaviour.

Let me get straight to the point. It is unacceptable by any standards that library staff insert their hands into student bags, sacks, briefcases, … (insert what you carry). Specially so because 1. The staff members are not respecting students ‘privacy’ 2. They do not wear gloves and hence their hands carry germs, disease, infections 3. They can place objects, items, pills, packets, or anything like that which can put students in trouble with the law (Now I know you are thinking that they are nice people and all woopsidoo, but that’s not the point. Lots of nice people have cause the lots of other nice people endless misery in the past).

As a student, I think it is within my right to cooperate with the necessary checks. As such, I strongly (and make no mistake about it I will not change my opinion on this one) believe that if any bag checks need to be made, then security or staff must make sure that it is the student who shows them the contents of the bag.

Here’s what transpired today

Astrorat: hi how’s it going. (noticing other students show their bags) Hold on a sec let me get my bag on the counter (I was carrying a travel bag in my right hand, a transparent file/folder and 3 books in my left.)

Staff: (doesn’t say anything, but attempts to open my bad)

Astrorat: Please do not touch my bag, I will show you the contents my self. (proceeds to open zipper of bag)

Staff: (ignores what I said and starts pulling my file)

Astrorat: I told you, please do not touch my things. I will show you the contents my self

Staff: (ignores, says nothing, and proceeds to insert hand inside bag)

Astrorat (irritated) I told you don’t touch my bag (looks real pissed)

Staff: (irritated and a tone of rudeness) What?

Astrorat: I said don’t touch my bag, I will show it to you myself

Staff: if that’s the case then you should leave it out (points outside towards an empty space that leads to the elevator/entrance)

Astrorat: I could lave it outside if you had a bag handling place and since you don’t, it is writing my right to bring my bag in just like every one else. Besides You have no right to touch my bag.

Staff: (cutting me off) Just go. Just go

Astrorat: (really pissed) Your management and the rest of the worlds going hear about this.

Ok first. I am not obsessed with cleanliness nor am I showing symptoms of OCD. I am angry cause I feel violated. My bag belongs to me. It is my private space. It is my shrine. As such touching the contents of my bag violates my rights.

Second, Library staff do not have the right to be rude to students for reasons that I don’t understand. I am clearly aware that I did not raise my voice or act irritated until he continued to do exactly what I told him not to.

Third, no one gives him the right to insert his hands in my bag. He may have the right to check it, but that’s with my consent and my showing him. It is my duty to show my bag or produce it for inspection. In this case, I did not say no.

Fourth, he has no right to give me ultimatums. To tell me to that I leave my bag outside if I cant let him insert his filthy (I don’t know where it has been in the past hour) hands in it?

Fifth, what’s with the dismissing attitude of “just go” as if he was chasing off a trouble maker? Where’s respect for students?

I encourage that management do adequate justice to stop this harassment of students. I suggest that ethical protocol and procedures be established for all security checks on campus.


mythsn_legends said...

It's awful to have your bags checked like that!Invasion of privacy!! (you're right about where the person's hands have been in the past hour...yuck). I definitely think it's better for students to handle their things when it comes to inspections.

Judging from the conversation that took place, he was an ass!!! Who the hell does he think he is to treat students like that? hrumph!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I would gave responded in kind. Some sensitivity and social skill training is in order for the library staff!