Tag Archives: University of Tampa

Let there be light!

My roommate stomped into the apartment the other evening clutching a wad of parking tickets and a scowl. She had just returned from the University of Tampa campus. I hardly needed to ask what the problem was, as she is a repeat offender in the parking department, but I love hearing about the ticketing woes at other colleges, considering the tab I racked up at SMU.

She was given a parking citation while sitting in her car, which I thought was a bit harsh. To be clear, I don’t furrow my brow at this because the guard was in the wrong. On the contrary, I’d like to congratulate UT on their outstanding parking enforcement. The thing that rubs me the wrong way is that my roommate has complained multiple times that she does not feel safe parking in the student garage at night and trekking across campus to get to class. I feel this is a legitimate concern, since the grounds aren’t very well-lit.

I feel that SMU has a similar lighting issue. No matter how many times I walked to the journalism lab at 5:45 a.m. to work at The Daily Update, I couldn’t help looking over my shoulder just to make sure there was nobody lurking in the dark while I booked it across the completely unlit quad. I did the same power walk/ look over the shoulder/ punch 911 in the cell phone just in case maneuvers when I walked home at night from The Daily Campus newsroom. If there were more lights, or even if the lights weren’t so dim, I probably would have felt more comfortable walking the quarter mile back to the sorority house.

According to UT’s crime statistics, from 2006 to 2008 there were 10 forcible sex offenses on campus. It can be assumed that this number is not entirely accurate, because many victims do not report assault. The fact of the matter is that anyone can walk on to the campus, a fact that should make women walking to classes late at night wary. In addition, a student was recently killed in a hit and run accident just off of campus. While he was off grounds, the student’s death should encourage school officials to take more precautionary measures where they can.

There are things that simply will happen on a college campus. The University cannot stop every crime. What it can do, however, is use some of the money it’s raking in from the heaps of parking tickets issued to put up more lights and emergency call boxes around campus.


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This afternoon President Obama swooped down on Tampa, shutting down roads and sending much of the city into a frenzy. He was scheduled to speak at the University of Tampa, thrilling most if its students. Not only was the leader of the free world at their school, classes were cancelled. I’m quite sure I heard a resounding “woop!” echo throughout downtown.

I spent the day running errands with my mother. We had just left Sam’s Club when a policeman kindly informed us that we were going absolutely nowhere because President Obama might show up sometime soon. So we snagged a parking spot near the road and hunkered down. We soon saw police cars zooming by at an unnecessarily swift pace, flashing their lights, blaring their sirens, and looking like this was the coolest thing they had ever gotten to do. This, of course, is silly, because, much like the rest of the drivers in Tampa, policemen in the Bay Area have a complete disregard for speed limits, stop signs, and traffic lights. Unless of course they catch you doing something wrong. But I digress.

Those of us trapped in the parking lot of the Sam’s Club and Home Depot took to the sidewalks with cameras. Men, women, children, and even one sheepdog patiently waited for the president to drive by after landing at MacDill Air Force Base. Some were slightly annoyed that they couldn’t get out of the lot and back to work. Others couldn’t wait to see the limo. One man made the best of the situation and put his sedan through the carwash across the street while waiting.

Brenda Thomas, a 50 year-old school bus driver and clerk at the Home Depot, was amazed at the power one man had over a city.

“It’s amazing how they can just shut everything down,” Thomas said.

Barbara Thomas

Thomas had never seen a president before, and couldn’t wait to catch a glimpse of the president rolling down South Dale Mabry Highway, though she was concerned because her lunch break was swiftly dwindling.

But Thomas and the other bystanders were not disappointed: soon a motorcade consisting of 38 motorcycles, vans carrying reporters, a bomb squad, three limousines, and a plethora of police cars drove by. Unfortunately, it was impossible to tell which limo the president was riding in, which many agreed was the safest thing to do, yet disappointing to all those who lined the streets to greet him. One woman joked that had the policemen tossed Gasparilla beads to the crowd, President Obama would officially be the coolest president ever.


Beginnings of the motorcade

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