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Story time on ND Nation

Bob Kessler | Thursday, October 2, 2008

There is the story of the husband that was tackled by police officers in front of his wife after making an off hand remark that the officers took the wrong way.

There is the story of the father who was accused of spiking a Coke in the bathroom and embarrassingly hassled by police officers in front of his daughter.

There is the story of the war veteran who has combat-induced vertigo that lost his balance in the stands, accidentally vomited on an usher, was forcibly removed from of the stadium and nearly arrested.

There are the rumors of the overseer using his binoculars from his high perch looking for troublemakers. He issues lifetime bans on a whim and holds a grudge ’til the end.

There is the filming of innocent bystanders. People who are not doing anything wrong being filmed by law enforcement for future records.

There is the roving band of enforcement officials, just waiting to find some poor souls to take down

There is the stifling of tradition in a place that used to be choked full of it.

These are the stories that I have read this week before I go to bed, and it is shocking that I haven’t been having night terrors. If any outsider heard these stories, they might think that I was talking about England as imagined in the graphic novel/film “V for Vendetta.” They might think that I’m talking about France during the Reign of Terror. They might think that I’m talking about Russia during the Cold War. They might even think I am talking about a novel by the likes of Orwell or Huxley.

No. These stories are our own. They come from our fans and alumni alike. They are the stories of a police force that is seemingly out of control and an administration that has no plans to reign in their excesses. These stories scare me and upset me, and I can only hope that they are all untrue. I can only hope that they are simply stories.

I can only hope that it’s untrue that a Vice-President of the University is banning Alumni from campus.

I can only hope that it’s untrue that a man was arrested for making fun of the horses.

I can only hope that it’s untrue that a man’s belt was cut off in the drunk tank and he was forced into the paddy wagon with his pants at his knees and his arms cuffed behind his back.

I can only hope that it’s untrue that the head of Stadium Security mocked the veteran with vertigo.

I can only hope that all of our Police Officers, Ushers, Administrators, Students, Fans, and Alumni have more respect for each other than these stories suggest because if they don’t, then this community we are all a part of has major problems on its hands regardless of the truth to these stories.

I tend to believe these stories. I don’t think that people who love Notre Dame as much as I do would have the capacity to make up things that are this appalling. However, after meeting with an NDSP official this week, I saw the other side to these stories. I reminded myself of the fact that in three years in O’Neill Hall I almost never locked the door to my room. In three months living off-campus I felt unsafe in my apartment with the door unlocked. In three years on-campus I would never hesitate to leave the dorm and go on a run. Now I feel like I need to drive to campus when a workout is in order. In three years on campus my safety was never threatened and my possessions were never stolen.

There is a reason why the Notre Dame bubble is so difficult to pop, and that reason is the police force that has done an exceptional job of protecting us. So whether or not the stories of our police force on game days are true or false, I would rather have them here than not, because the alternative is a much more terrifying story.

Bob Kessler is a senior majoring in political science and economics. You can contact him at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.