The focus of Monday’s monthly Dept. of Public Safety Student Affairs Council Forum was an incident involving a student who claims DPS followed him to an event and DPS’ use of social media outlets to prevent incidences around campus.
Max Hoiland, a senior majoring in cinema television and critical studies, expressed concerns about DPS officers, who he claimed followed him to an event earlier this semester. Hoiland said DPS officers brought a photo of him from his Facebook account to the event.
“They had a picture of me, and I found that pretty disturbing,” Hoiland said.
Though DPS Chief Carey Drayton was unable to deny the photo, he said Hoiland’s past actions had prompted some concerns.
“The concern was [Hoiland has], in the past, caused an interruption of the business operations of USC,” Drayton said.
Drayton told Hoiland that the officers were not at the event specifically because he was attending but because the event was controversial.
“Five officers weren’t there for [Hoiland],” Drayton said. “There was a lot of concern about that particular event.”
Drayton said DPS does use Facebook and other public information in preparation for events, particularly when they are controversial. Drayton also said DPS does not follow individual students.
“We don’t follow you around,” Drayton said. “I don’t have the resources to follow you around … when I’m worried about robberies and other things going on.”
At the start of the meeting, which was attended by 12 students, the creators of a mobile application for reporting safety concerns, That’s Suspicious Behavior, delivered a presentation.
The program, which is available for free on iPhones, allows anyone with a university email to anonymously report suspicious behavior. After the behavior is reported, it appears on a map of the university with a location and time for anyone to view on the app.
“It’s a virtual campus-watch asking students to help each other be safer,” said Brigette Kidd, a graduate student studying communication management, who had the idea for the application.
For now, Drayton said DPS is not monitoring the behavior reported with the application.
“We have limited resources so we can’t obligate resources just to watch a beta model or something we are trying out,” Drayton said.
Drayton said that could change, however, if there is a big push from students or other members of the community for DPS to monitor the application.