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Innocent ID switch leads to bureaucratic bullying

May 16th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By April Ashland

Heads up: Lending a friend your USU ID card could have you both arrested and charged with a Class A misdemeanor and a police record.

I am in a sorority, and some of my sisters and I were sitting together in our house, and comparing ID pictures, as most of us do, when Kylie grabbed her ID card and went to dinner.

When Kylie got to the Marketplace, and tried to use her ID, the woman who swipes the cards noticed the picture obviously wasn’t her. When she confronted Kylie, Kylie saw it wasn’t her ID, and asked for it back.

“I told her that it was my sister’s card, and that she’d kill me if she didn’t get it back, but they wouldn’t give it to me,” she said.

“They gave me a business card with the manager’s name and number on it and said to give her a call.”

Kylie called me when she couldn’t get the card back, and told me what was happening.

My meal plan has 15 prepaid meals a week. I eat most if not all of my meals every week. Kylie has 10 meals a week, and always finishes them, too.

When I went back to the Marketplace to get my ID, the woman told me she didn’t have it, and that I would have to talk to the manager.

I had her call out whoever was in charge at that time so I could talk to them, and when Brad, the supervisor, came out he told me while he had my card, he could not give it back to me, and that I would have to talk to the Marketplace manager.

“I’m not saying you’re lying,” he said. “It’s a plausible story. But I don’t have the power to give you your ID back.”

He did call his manager in front of me, but she did not answer, so he told me I was out of luck until Monday.

Tuesday I went in to talk to Jaime, the manager of the Quickstop, Hub, and Marketplace. She told me to sit down, and tell my story.

“And we’ve already talked to your friend, so we’ll see if your stories corroborate,” she said, as we sat down.

(As an insert, she had not talked to my friend. When Kylie left the Marketplace Friday night, she had not given her name, phone number, or A-number, so Jamie had no way to get in contact with her. Kylie said she hadn’t talked to anyone other than Friday night at the Marketplace.)

I told Jaime what had happened, exactly as I have written in, and she didn’t believe me, and told me I was lying.

“Okay, your story doesn’t match your friend’s. Would you like to change it?” Jaime asked me.

Of course, I wasn’t going to be bullied into telling a lie just to satisfy her, so I told her I had said it how it happened.

She then told me that since stories still didn’t match, she would give the USU police a call and have them deal with the issue, since we couldn’t get to the bottom of it, and that they would be in touch.

Officer Kim Ellis, of the USU Police, called me that evening, and told me he needed to meet with me, regarding the issue. So I called him back to make an appointment.

That was fine. But he had my ID card in his hand as he called me, and he called me Ashley. Four times, when I talked to him on the phone, and when I went in to the police station Thursday afternoon.

When I went to the USU Police office, he met me in the lobby and took me into a room with two chairs, a table, and a camera mounted on the wall, pointed at me.

I told Ellis what had happened, the same way I told Jaime. I gave him Kylie’s phone number, and full name, and told him he could call her if he wanted to verify my story.

I told him that Kylie was a student here, also with a meal plan, and that I did not have an unlimited meal plan. I have 15 meals a week.

Ellis listened, and then told me why everyone was so upset. He said that using someone else’s ID card was theft.

“Using someone else’s card is a theft of services, and you can be arrested, or given a citation, and charged with a Class A misdemeanor,” Ellis said. “I’m giving this back to you with a warning, and I want you to tell your friends and sisters about it, so they understand.”

It took them six days to resolve the issue and give me my ID back.

Luckily I was able to use my driver’s license to get into the cafeterias on campus, or I would have gone almost a week without being able to eat from my meal plan.

Of course I had been talking to my parents about this, and my father was not happy.

“I paid for it, I paid for 15 meals a week, and I don’t care if my daughter eats two meals, and uses the rest of the meals for her friends,” my dad said. “If anyone is being stolen from, it’s me. And I don’t care.”

I understand that it would be theft if the plan was unlimited, or the person borrowing the ID was using it to get into a basketball game or football game, but neither of those things happened.

I called the police station again to clarify the issue, and talked to Capt. Steven Milne, the assistant USU police chief. He said if you intentionally lend someone your ID, both of you could be charged with the misdemeanor. But if someone steals your card, it is only the person who has taken it.

Milne also said that, as far as he knew, campus police are called in only on others using an unlimited meal plan. He said it didn’t make sense with a limited meal plan.

Which leads me to one conclusion: I am frustrated with the bureaucracy of the food services at Utah State. I shouldn’t have been bothered by the issue at all, and the police should have done their research and not have had me come down to be interrogated.

While I believe I shouldn’t have had to deal with this, I understand that the police had to investigate, since the manager of the Marketplace wasn’t going to listen, but I think that when I walk in and you lie to me about something as basic as, “I’ve talked to your friend,” then I have no respect for you, and will believe you are simply trying to intimidate me.


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  1. One Response to “Innocent ID switch leads to bureaucratic bullying”

  2. By Safiyyah Ballard on May 17, 2010

    Wow, that is awful! I’m sorry, April.

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