Panhandlers have no right to solicit in ‘U’ buildings

To the Daily:

I was checking e-mail in the Fishbowl today when I noticed a large man wandering the room, a bag of plastic bottles in his hand, checking through wasteboxes. I did not think much of it until I noticed him approaching multiple people at random. Mostly I saw people shaking their heads at him and him moving on, but a few people actually reached into their pockets to give him change. When he approached a set of computers near me I overheard him asking for change and then offering to sell drugs. I became quite bothered at this point and motioned for the staff to ask him to leave, yet he left before any confrontation was necessary. I then saw him through the glass windows as he walked down the hallway. He approached more people and received more change. I felt less bothered by him and more bothered by those who so willingly gave him change. Giving him money would only ensure that he would remain prowling the room, bothering more people with his panhandling. Surely, on the street you can respond to panhandling however you wish, but when in the Fishbowl, please be considerate of the context and those around you, and do not humor such behavior. A person who is willing to ask random people for money, as good-hearted as he might be, obviously has some problems, might be dangerous, and has no purpose in the Fishbowl in the first place, especially when he is offering drugs.

You might say I’m very uptight and paranoid, but I’ve seen enough occasions when people, especially college students, yearn to give sketchy people the benefit of the doubt and regret it later. When in a University building, people should put aside whatever principled or politicized notions they might have regarding the “down and trodden” (this particular man appeared quite healthy in fact) and should not respond to panhandlers.

Steve Dannemiller

LSA junior

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