Guarding the Gates


Varsity News photo / LOREAL DODSON

Ophelia Joseph thougth she would feel isolated in the entrance booth, but she does not.



Before you set foot on the Detroit Mercy campus, something comes between your car and the entrance to the university: a red-and-white striped bar.

It is the first line of defense stopping someone from coming through the gates of Detroit Mercy.

Have you ever wondered who controls the bar that goes up and down throughout the school day?

Sometimes, a Public Safety officer works in the gate booth and operates the barrier, but often it is a student auxiliary worker.

They are few and far between, but they are easy to spot because their uniform is a bright fluorescent yellowish-green coat.

A regular work day for the student auxiliary consists of sitting in one of the two booths – Fisher or Tower.

The Fisher booth is next to the Fisher administration building and handles traffic from Livernois Avenue.

The newest booth is called Tower, with traffic coming off McNichols/Six Mile Road.

Freshman Ophelia Joseph started working at the gates in October 2017.

Her friend Diedre, who is also a student auxiliary worker, told her about the job and she applied soon after.

At first, she didn’t like it. She felt isolated – a challenge for someone who considers herself a social person.

But now Joseph appreciates it because she can do her homework and still do her job properly.

She enjoys the moments of peace and quiet and being alone in the booth.

It gives her a chance to take some time for herself.

“A lot of people think we just let in whoever,” she said. “But if someone doesn’t have any identification on them, we can’t let them in.”

There have been times when Joseph has had to call Public Safety because someone wasn’t cooperating.

The best part of being a student auxiliary employee is scheduling flexibility, she said.

Her supervisor, Sgt. Sean Bacon, understands that school is a priority for student workers.

If there is a time when she needs to take off to study for a test or needs to make hours up due to school, he tries to be accommodating.

The newest addition to the student auxiliary family is Angel Hollobaugh, a junior majoring in religious studies.

She started working for Public Safety in January and said the experience has been great.

“The officers and the other student auxiliaries I have met have all been really nice and welcoming,” said Hollobaugh.

Similar to Joseph, Hollobaugh likes the idea of being able to do her job and homework in a timely manner.

Hollobaugh said that a lot of people wonder if there is heat in the booth.

She assures everyone that no one needs to worry about workers freezing.

Hollobaugh said the position has taught her how to follow through with different protocols and procedures that she didn’t know before.  

It also doesn’t hurt that it pays nicely, she said.