In the turmoil which has surrounded the campus in the past few months, one aspect which has been neglected are the campus security officers. Their role is conceptualized ranging from that of a watchman or contracted guard to that of a professional law enforcement official with powers. Their presence on campus is not only necessitated by the rise of individual crime rates, but also by the increase in student enrollments and in the large number of vehicles on campus.
The question that we often forget or choose not to ask ourselves is- ‘Are our security officers à l’aise (comfortable) while playing their multiple diverse roles? Sometimes as the first responders, liaison providers with the campus routes or the guardians of our campus’ safety and peace.
Our team at The Informer went around the campus, inquiring about the well-being of our security personnel and came across a plethora of responses.
These are the top 4 issues being faced by our security personnel.
1. My Campus, My Rules- Non-cooperation by students:
When students from all walks of life arrive at the gates of this university, their first contact is often a security officer. They play an important role when it comes to rolling out an informative, hospitable, and safe welcome mat. Once the mat has been walked upon, the students often tend to forget who welcomed them in the first place.
It is not rare to find someone trying to enter without showing his/her id.
When asked about it, their reply is हम तो यही के स्टूडेंट्स हैं ‘says the guard sitting outside the gates of PSR.
2. In search of अच्छे दिन– Low and irregular salaries:
‘I have been working with this company for last 15 years, and all I get is 12k a month’ says Binod (name changed on request). When asked why doesn’t he change the company and join some other, he says, ‘the pay is same everywhere. It doesn’t change. At least people know me here.’ Hiring employees from fields as diverse as science graduates to ex-army personals, the Security Companies are known to have a poor track record when it comes to adequate and timely payment of salaries to their employees.
3. Like Day, Like Night- Odd and gruesome working hours:
The working schedule is changed constantly. Day shifts, night shifts even double shifts.
They are hectic and fatiguing and affect everyone in the end. If a guard is caught snoozing for a few minutes by a higher official in the company, he/she is heavily fined.
This is how last month Gobind was fined for a day’s pay.
4. Far From the Land of Facilities-Acute shortage of basic amenities:
Do you ever wonder where the guard does, keeping a watch on the ring road at night, rush to answer nature’s call or to fill his water bottle in case he runs out of drinking water? No? Don’t worry you are not alone, because neither did their bosses while posting them at those locations. Many security guards work during the scorching summers and freezing winters without even a roof to hide their heads under and are left with no other choice but to seek refuge under trees.
The security officers are the first point of interaction of an academic institution. They interact with the students and the campus community while serving as the eyes and ears to help keep the campus safe. The issues our security officers are facing today require awareness and sensitivity, both on the part of the administration and the student community.
Abhishek is a B A student at SL and works for The Informer. Pictures by Shreya, an M A student at SSS who works at the Photography Pool of The Informer.