Cal Aggie Hosts are necessary
Alex Byrne’s letter of April 12 (“Unprofessional security”) presents a hyperbolic, insensitive and, quite frankly, naïve perspective with regard to the Cal Aggie Host program. While it is certainly true that security staff at events can and may often have a dampening effect on an otherwise celebratory atmosphere, their presence is necessary for several valid reasons, not least of which is to ensure the safety of the event participants.
Alex complains of the Cal Aggie Hosts “shining lights, harassing students, and disrupting the pleasant experience” of event attendees. Deeming these actions “unprofessional” is simply perverting the truth in order to paint a negative image of the security staff. As a former staff member and liaison to the Whole Earth Festival I have had numerous interactions with the Cal Aggie Host security staff, and I have always witnessed them acting professionally.
Whenever a light is being shined toward attendees at an event, it is because the security staff are attempting to identify an individual or individuals who may be violating campus policy or engaging in behavior that would amount to a security or safety risk. At concert and festival events, this often amounts to looking for a person or persons smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol, both of which are routinely noticed first by smell. Shining a light toward people is a secondary step after a potential risk has been identified.
As for claims of harassment, if a risk is suspected, then it isn’t a case of harassment, but is rather a case of following through on protocols to ensure the safety of those attending the event. While this may result in a minor impact on one’s “pleasant experience,” the benefit, in my opinion, far outweighs the potential cost should an incident occur and security staff not be present to handle it.
Simply put, the Cal Aggie Host program provides a level of security between self-monitoring by event attendees and the campus Police Department. They offer their services at rates far below what is charged for uniformed police personnel and do so as peers of those attending events on campus. As a professionally trained security team, the Cal Aggie Hosts are responsive to threats and risks, and are prepared to call for uniformed assistance as needed. Should any legitimate complaints about their behavior arise, it is probably best to forward those concerns directly to the Police Department.
UC Davis Conference and Event Services
Alumnus, Class of 2003