Students express unhappiness about new university curfew


The Alabama State University marquee stands at the corner of South Jackson Street and North University Drive.

Nefsa'Hyatt Brown, Editor-in-Chief

Shots rang out near the John Garrick Hardy Center on the Alabama State University campus on Oct. 28, around 7:40 p.m.  Starting as an isolated shot followed by multiple shots, the incident caused considerable damage to the center, breaking and shattering windows in various places around the building. As a result of the shooting, in hopes of “securing the safety of those who work and learn on our campus,” the university’s Department of Public Safety and the Office of Student Affairs invoked a mandatory campus curfew, much to the student body’s dismay.

In an email sent to the entire student body on Oct. 29, this new curfew mandates that students who reside on campus must be in their assigned residence halls from 9 p.m. each evening until 6 a.m. the next day. Although the shooting took place well before 9 p.m., the university believes that this curfew will “curtail the possibilities of criminal activity, non-sanctioned gatherings, and violations of the university’s COVID-19 protocols.”

“Y’all notice how school police are trying to cover their asses for the shooting on campus by enforcing a curfew?” inquired Carl Hopkins, a senior computer science major, expressing his unhappiness with the campus curfew. “They are doing that to cover up for the lack of protection on that day, but how are they going to enforce it at night since the shooting happened during the day? Make it make sense.”

Students who have extenuating circumstances must alert their residence hall director or residential assistant in the event they need to leave for an emergency during the hours of the curfew. Students who commute are also expected to adhere to this curfew and report to the university’s Department of Public Safety if they need to remain on campus or return to campus.

Failure to adhere to the university’s procedures will result in sanctions from the Office of Student Affairs, including suspension or expulsion from the university.  Furthermore, as explained to students by their respective residence hall directors and residential assistants, the university will issue a $250 fine if a resident violates the curfew.

“So let me get this straight, I’m going to be fined $250 for getting off work at 9 p.m. when the only reason I have a job is to pay for this ridiculous tuition/room fees you’re requiring, even though we’re online, and I’m required to stay here for my internship in order to graduate?” asked Alicia Lee, a senior social work major.

Agreeing with Lee, sophomore biology pre-health major Devontae Harris is concerned about being fined for breaking curfew despite not getting off work until 10 p.m. Ultimately, he feels that the university was inconsiderate in this decision and did not take into account students who have jobs in the Montgomery area.

“I get y’all [the university] are trying to do the curfew or whatever to ensure ‘safety’ but the time and place isn’t fitting at all,” Harris said. “It’s a lot of us who work and don’t get off until 10 or 11 p.m., and I refuse to pay a fine for something out of my control.”

Similar to Harris, junior communications major Charles Henry believes that the university’s decision to implement a curfew was inconsiderate to students who have “lives that don’t just involve school.”

“What are students supposed to do when they get hungry past nine?” Henry asked. “What about students who get off around one in the morning? They aren’t taking into consideration students who have lives that don’t just involve school. It’s the university with only five officers that sleep on the job, that’s the problem,” he continued urging the university to reevaluate the officers at the checkpoint.

Other students believed that the curfew had more to do with the university hoping to protect their property rather than the students. As explained on Twitter by @jaythepiercer_, some students believe that the university “cares more about the property than it’s own students.”

“Multiple students were shot during the Acadome shooting a while back, and all ASU did was put a gate up.  Now the union has been shot, so now y’all want to make a curfew?” @_jaythepiercer tweeted, arguing that the only reason the university implemented this curfew is because they are losing money due to the damage done to the student center.

Believing that the curfew is more of a “punishment than a preventative measure,” said senior communications major, Micah Hardge, who expressed his confusion on the curfew’s times.

“A 9 p.m. curfew in response to a shooting that took place at 7:40 p.m.?” said Hardge confusingly. “I can see why this is confusing to students because while we understand the university’s intent, the execution is disconnected. Violence and bad situations can take place at any time of day.”

Taking into account that we are still amid a global pandemic, senior rehabilitation services major Keondra Palmore believed that the curfew is the least of her concern, as “we still do not know how many people on campus have COVID.”