Saturday, June 23, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Campus security needs closer inspection

The University of Central Florida in Orlando was lucky Monday when a dormitory resident who had gone on a weapons-buying spree, plotted a violent mass attack and pointed a gun at his roommate instead committed suicide as police responded. But the incident highlighted a security lapse in the university's policies. The man had been living in a campus dormitory for months even though he had not been enrolled in the university since December. UCF officials are now wisely reviewing their policies, and other Florida universities should do the same to ensure that good intentions do not breed dangerous situations.

UCF police found former student James Seevakumaran dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his room in the 500-resident dormitory when they responded to his roommate's 911 call. Police discovered the 30-year-old had amassed a cache of weapons and homemade explosives, including a .45-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber tactical assault rifle, high-capacity ammunition magazines and approximately 1.000 rounds of ammunition. They also found plans to attack UCF students.

While UCF avoided a catastrophe, Seevakumaran should not have been living in the dormitory. Like the University of South Florida in Tampa, UCF requires on-campus housing residents to be registered students. Seevakumaran missed the university's final January deadline to register for classes for the spring semester. He also had not paid for dormitory housing, yet he kept living there as he amassed his arsenal.

Grant Heston, UCF's vice president for communications and public affairs, told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board that the school makes rare "compassionate" exceptions for medical issues or a family crisis to allow an unregistered former student to remain in a dormitory. That's understandable, but neither of those circumstances appear to apply to Seevakumaran. "Clearly, this is something we need to look at," Heston said, noting the only other known unregistered student living in UCF housing has been removed from the campus.

Police were still at a loss Tuesday for a potential motive for Seevakumaran's actions. And certainly, just keeping unregistered students off campus is no guarantee a campus is safer. But universities have an obligation to students, faculty and staff to follow their procedures. UCF and other Florida universities can learn from this close call.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18