Jan 20, 2006


Not long ago the university appointed a new head of security. Apparently, he came with no experience in educational institutions; it is said he headed airport security before this job, and before that he was in some other job in the ministry of the interior. In fact, he served in the ministry during les annees de plomb. Since he has arrived morale among the guards has gone from bad to worse. His style is intimidation and threat. It has always been true here but now even more so that the career progression among guards is based not on length of service or professionalism, but on the amount of scurrilous information brought in. 'Any news, from any source, is good,' I was told, 'but bad news is particularly sought after.' Everyone is a dossier. Everyone is someone else's pawn. The one with the largest dossier loses.

Meanwhile, the university is no more physically secure now than it was before. The guards have orders to pat down students suspected of drug use, raid dorms looking for sexual liaisons, and cultivate sources among students. Part of this is in response to parents. The univeristy receives 20 calls a day from parents demanding news of their children, or demands that administrators coddle or encourage kids to participate in activities, or that administrators not let them off campus. Like all private schools this is one that serves the interest of parents who don't want their children causing any more trouble at home, in Casa or Rabat. Here, it's no matter. No one knows them. Whatever trouble they get in, whether sex or drugs, can't amount to anything.