You can run from Pub Safe, but you can’t make it past the DARC staircase

Public Safety officer gets a run for his money in an encounter with a student.

Victoria Ernst

On a Saturday afternoon, a Public Safety officer got a little more action than the same old freshmen-locking-themselves-out-of-their-dorm antics. A third-year student, who chose to remain anonymous – though the story spread around campus faster than the young man in question – actually engaged in a foot race with an officer in attempting to elude detainment. 

Public Safety has a variety of responsibilities on the Washington and Lee University campus, from monitoring the campus library at night to fighting a broad spectrum of misconduct. As the Washington and Lee website states, Pub Safe sometimes has to intervene in conflicts with members of the community, though officers handle such occurrences “with the highest degree of professionalism.” But who knew that the job was so physically demanding?

That afternoon of Sept. 16, the Pub Safe officer spotted the student in question and correctly assumed that he was intoxicated to a dangerous degree. According to the student, the officer asked him to enter the Pub Safe vehicle due to his excessive stumbling. The officer managed to get him in the vehicle, but the student had other plans: he made a run for it.

The rebel ran to a group of his friends, who persuaded him to return to the officer. The officer then taxied the student to the health center, where he would be monitored for the remainder of the night. “He said if I ran again they would call the police… And I did run again,” said the student. 

The newfound track star ran from the health center and made it to the stairs outside the DARC, which is the university’s newly renovated, four-story athletic complex. There, he tripped and fell, resulting in minor physical injuries and a chipped tooth. At that point, the showdown had come to an end, for the fugitive was unable to recover from the tumble. The officer caught up to the student and escorted him to the hospital. 

As Washington and Lee’s  online Public Safety page states, “part of the college experience is learning to take individual responsibility for decisions made.” Despite the physical effects, the student is facing other consequences, which he takes on in a rather stoic fashion. “I am facing some repercussions, but it’s well deserved, because I definitely deserved my repercussions,” he stated. 

After the showdown, the student was able to reflect on his actions; he realizes that he is lucky to have had Pub Safe protect him from himself. “I’m glad they got me when they did, ‘cause I remember there was a point…where I would try to stand up, and every time I would stand up I would fall back down. I was like I can’t stand up straight.” The student was even able to make amends with the officer and talk about the incident with him. “He said I was kicking it… I was moving fast, just a little too fast for my own good.” Talk about a runner’s high. 

Personally, I agree with the student and believe that we are lucky to have Public Safety to protect us, no matter what the situation. This episode could have gone down many other ways, but luckily the student did not face major physical ailments. I also commend the student, who was kind enough to share his experience and demonstrate his gratitude for Public Safety. I don’t know who should be applauded, the student for his astonishing speed, the officer for catching up to him, or both. Either way, in the wise words of the student, “I learned my lesson… don’t run from Pub Safe.”