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(The following was written shortly after midnight on 07-30-08.)

At 10:45, I was in the Hammond building getting water, and used the restroom.  Some fascist started yelling at me, “Where are you going!?”  I told him to quit yelling at me, and said I’d go over to the Office of Physical Plant and have him fired if he didn’t quit giving me a hard time.  He called the PSU security department, and they sent FOUR complete fools in uniform over to give me an unholy writ and tell me I am going to go to jail if I go into any of the buildings again.  They expected me to accept, and to sign, this ridiculous piece of nonsense obviously written by a tyrant, Nazi, or communist, which I quote here in full:

“You are hereby notified that you are not allowed, licensed, or privileged to enter or remain in any residence hall, office, classroom, laboratory, or other non-public buildings, facilities and areas (including but not limited to recreational or athletic facilities or areas) of the Pennsylvania State University without explicit, written authorization from University Police.  Mere Authorization by the faculty or staff having control over such premises does not constitute sufficient authorization for you to enter or remain in these places.”

The piece of paper this writ purporting to be a bona fide legal instrument was printed on contained three lines, labeled “Name”, “Date”, and “Witness”, and the witness line has a scrawl that looks like a G followed by sort of an M with legible digits “4132” following it, and “refused to sign” is on the line for the name following “Glenn Merritt”.  I told them I’d never sign anything that ridiculous.  “For crying out loud, ” I said, “I killed Adolph Hitler.”  The one security fellow said, “You did?”  I replied, “You’re damn right I did!”  These fellows, all four of them, insisted that The Pennsylvania State University is not a public school, and is private.  If it is not chartered so as to exist under the auspices implied, and even explicitly stated by its name, why do they all take advantage of a suggested affiliation with the populace through its name?  They don’t have signs up saying, “No Trespassing,” so there must be some reason why they are concealing their private charter; but I don’t know what it might be.  Is it easier for them to qualify for grants or endowments if they can hide the fact that they’re not always friendly or kind to the general public and that they can single people out for exclusion from the benefits of academia and even jail people who are pursuing some educational objective of their own, naively believing that the presence of the University bestows a large measure of goodwill on the populace?  A one-way street for goodwill, perhaps, on which if you can’t afford to buy that which enables you to increase your store of knowledge or capacity for it, they adamantly insist that you are going the wrong way, to the bitter end of making a criminal of you?  The hard, cold facts could hardly be laid out with greater clarity:   Don’t come here expecting to make an investment of your time to accomplish anything, because your time and your dedication to learning are both worthless; and so is your mind.  You are obligated to finance the institution if you wish to benefit from it, and if you are not paying The Pennsylvania State University, you have no right to enjoy any benefit from it, nor privilege to presume that the benevolence and goodwill of academia entitles you to freedom from being accused of stealing knowledge.  Your intellectual pursuits are declared illegitimate, unendorsed by hard, cold cash.  And because your activity is not commercial ground in and of itself from which some monetary advantage may accrue in a tangible and accountably pecuniary fashion to the University, the Security Department considers you suspect and maintains that your strivings to better your understanding are of ignoble birth; and they have issued this writ as University policy which no one may make argument against, whether faculty or staff.

In my opinion, this nonsense is mainly the result of vandalism; because it is obvious that little else than criminality and destruction justifies the existence of security departments.  But the end result is vandalism of another kind, which is not so tangible.  Vandalism of your peace of mind, because thieves have broken through into the world of academia to steal your opportunities from you.  The last fifty or so years have seen the wanton destruction of just about every form of goodwill that we had, and the situation is so bad that no one seems to remember it.  These people have replaced goodwill and common sense with what boils down to a load of excuses, expertly contrived and fed to us like sedatives…  Sleep on, America, and dream of your greatness that is gone.

-Glenn A. Merritt      07-31-08      State College, PA


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