Returning UCSC students may remember guards at the university entrances asking for their student IDs in order to be permitted on campus at night. As of Aug. 31, this crime prevention measure — known as the Kiosk Guard Program — has been discontinued.
While in effect, the Kiosk Guard Program prevented people without university identification from traveling onto campus in vehicles between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. unless there was prior knowledge of their arrival or they had other valid reasons — such as tickets to a performance. Those attempting to access campus by foot or bus were still able to enter without showing any type of university identification.
UCSC chief of police Nader Oweis said the funding that previously went to this program will now go toward the training and hiring of two additional police officers, increasing the total number of officers to 19. This will enable the UCSC Police Department (UCSC PD) to have at least two officers on duty at all times.
For the past two years, campus administration has discussed the possibility of defunding the Kiosk Guard Program.
“This was not a decision that was made overnight, it took a long time. What I needed was flexibility, I needed more officers, people who weren’t just in one place but who could be up on campus as well,” Oweis said. “We’ve received all kinds of feedback. Some individuals believe it was absolutely the right decision and some believe it was absolutely the wrong decision.”
Some students and resident advisers (RAs) have expressed concerns about these changes in the campus’s security measures.
“[The kiosk guards] help with not allowing just anyone to come up on campus. I don’t think the new patrol cars will be effective at all, because they are only patrolling the area and not seeing who is coming in,” said fourth-year Oakes RA Sindy Ramirez.
The university and the UCSC PD have worked to mitigate the impact that these changes have had on the former kiosk guards.
“Some of the former kiosk guards have been reassigned and some have retired. Three guards retired, one went on to become a CSO [Community Safety Officer] and one is on military leave,” Oweis said.