UF students voice their concerns to city


Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 12:59 a.m.
Gainesville city commissioners met with the University of Florida Student Senate Tuesday night to address concerns the students had, including one complaint that Gainesville police are unfairly targeting nightclubs attended by minorities when the clubs close at night.
"Many of the students of both the University of Florida and Santa Fe (Community College) feel there is an inequality," said Student Senate President Pro Tempore Samuel Green on behalf of the Black Student Union at UF.
Green said he has heard complaints that the department's horse-mounted units seem to have a larger presence around clubs such as 238 West and The Venue, which typically have a higher percentage of minorities than other clubs.
GPD's Lt. Lonnie Scott and Community Resource Coordinator Tony Jones were on hand to address the concerns raised about the police department's use of mounted units to control crowds after nightclubs close at 2 a.m., and both said that the horses go where the crowds are.
"We're not really concerned what's happening from the student side of it," Scott said. "It's from people who are not students, people who are coming from Ocala, from surrounding areas, who are looking for people to prey on."
Scott said he had a hand in starting the program of having mounted units downtown when the clubs let out to give officers a better vantage point to control the crowds, which can sometimes reach upward of 12,000 people.
"The horses are not targeted primarily at any race or any group of people," Scott said. "It's the crowd."
Scott and Jones asked Green to stay after the meeting to set up a time when GPD and the Black Student Union can meet to discuss any further concerns.
Other questions asked of the city commissioners Tuesday night ranged in topic from sustainability to roam towing, and a few questions touched on parking and development around the university that could have an impact on students.
Some say that GPD's horse-mounted units seem to have a larger presence at and unfairly target downtown clubs attended by minorities.

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