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The Hate You Hired

Sudhama Ranganathan | 14.05.2010 12:44 | Repression | World

Once post 9/11 hysteria in the U.S. subsided Americans began to reflect on what happened that day and since. Our collective sense of national pride was renewed helping to make us stronger. We realized how precious our freedoms and liberties were. We became more vigilant over anything that threatened our way of life and culture. In the face of tragedy we pulled together.

These changes occurred in part because terrorists snuck up on us, caught us off guard and the feeling was awful. What was also awful was that while we were fearing for our lives certain people whose salaries come out of our pockets conned us into the war in Iraq. We sent men and women from our armed services to risk their lives in a war based on lies. We paid private security contractors twice as much as U.S. Military personnel, and sent roughly the same amount of security contractors as we did our own troops to Iraq.

Hazards inherent in hiring those contractors eventually emerged. One such pitfall was the lack of accountability on the part of those providing the security. When authorities wanted to investigate circumstances regarding a shooting in Baghdad last September they ran into some questionable road blocks. It turned out there were no laws holding private contractors accountable for criminal acts committed while under taxpayer employ.

Allegations of contractor steroid abuse were also troubling as it follows there could have been other on the job substance abuse. We cannot trust the protection of our country's future to security personnel who might be drunk on the job for example. Nor can we wait until after problems arise to investigate such circumstances. Whether a high level security outfit or Joes t-shirts, z's and whatever we could get for minimum wage security guyses most Americans would agree some measure of oversight is prudent.

It concerns me because while a student at The University of Connecticut from 2003 to 2006 I discovered things most Americans would find troubling. I went through harassment, abuse and discrimination sponsored by professors who were aided by some students in such behavior. The behavior was aimed at getting me to either quit, flunk or end up kicked out of the program. It was insinuated one of the students involved was not actually a student but a private security personnel hired to observe me due to my involvement in a student protest thirteen years prior to my coming to UCONN. In fact I was told outright by two fellow students, Eduardo Colon and Dan Gallagher, while at lunch with them during junior year they heard he was some kind of private security personnel hired by the school.

It made some sense because ever since I met this individual first semester of sophomore year 2003 his behavior was odd. He would follow me around school and just pop up when I was walking to class. He'd wait for me, unsolicited, sometimes a half an hour or more after class while I was doing extra work and would follow me to my car. Before ever saying hello he moved his seat from where he was sitting to a seat essentially across from me at a grouping of drafting tables.

Once when exiting a meeting held for my place of employment in a small town an hour from school located in a run down industrial area of that small town between seven and eight AM on a Saturday morning I noticed two suspicious gentlemen standing in front of a car parked facing mine with the hood up on their car. The men weren't working on their car but watching me walk to mine. Once I got into my car one of the individuals put the cell phone he was holding by his side to his ear and began talking while staring at me. When I exited the parking lot, voila, there was the strange security guy from school at the four way intersection outside the building my meeting was in. This small town was also over half an hour's drive from his hometown and I don't believe he had anything to do with my job or my meeting, but there he was waiting at the four way intersection outside the hotel driving slowly past me.

Things became more odd second semester sophomore year when he actually stopped behind me while walking to his chair, put his left hand on my left shoulder, jabbed his right hand into my lower back three or four times repeatedly and walked away. What made this even stranger was that prior to that incident the worst of the professors involved in harassing me did the exact same thing. At that point I asked him to stay away and not speak to me again. He never touched me again, but I believe he helped plan much of the harassment that went on from that point at UCONN.

I would have no problem with him being there were he simply observing me, especially given the gravity of post 9/11 concerns. I take exception to his harassing me and his participation in such. I am not a danger and anyone who knows me would confirm that. The problem is it could have been someone else in my shoes. How secure is the decision to allow someone into rooms filled with college students you deem to be a threat to the lives of those students? It would seem to be more responsible to deny the person's application which after 9/11 would have been fairly easy. That would have ended things before they started.

I don't understand why harassment and provocation of a person deemed a threat were chosen as solutions for dealing with the safety of the lives of young college students. If this were your child or yourself how would you feel about being an unwitting pawn in this hair brained scheme? What price could have been paid for this behavior. What was the cost for the services of this 'security guard?' The money was obviously wasted over the three years I dealt with this as he was ineffectual at getting me to drop out, flunk out or to get me kicked out due to the stress from all the harassment. I made a complaint and graduated.

It is shameful that people supposed to protect us could not have done better. Hate and prejudice were fomented by the very people college students looked up to in order to manipulate students into participating in criminal acts which could have threatened their safety. People were hired to aid in this effort. This was all done on the taxpayers dime without anyone notifying the taxpayers, the students or parents about what they were in for.

Apparently in Connecticut provoking an alleged threat to security in a room full of college students truly is 'good enough for the state.' Who would have guessed?

To read more about my experiences at the University of Connecticut click here and go to the "What Happened" link on the corresponding site.

Sudhama Ranganathan
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