Breaking Bear: College severs ties with security company

An officer stands next to a public safety car. (Elizabeth Lucy ’15)

The college has severed long-term ties with Bear Security, an independent company that provided security at campus events like Lafayette-Lehigh and the spring concert.

Director of Public Safety Jeff Troxell would not discuss specifics about the Bear contract, merely confirming that the college is no longer “utilizing” them. Bear officials did not respond for comment on the issue.

Lafayette is not the first school to break ties. Last September, Muhlenberg College reportedly ended their 32-year partnership with Bear Security after a racist confrontation.

According to Delta Kappa Epsilon president Trey Croney ’19, his fraternity and other Greek organizations have hired Bear for events in the past. However, Croney said he was not surprised when they were told of the change in partnership, because his fraternity had made the same decision a year prior to stop working with Bear Security and to work with ESP Security instead.

“My spring formal sophomore year [Bear Security] was kind of aggressive towards [DKE’s] previous president, so he started using ESP, and we’ve been going on that since,” Croney said.

Croney said while he doesn’t recall the details of the incident, he believes that Bear Security didn’t handle the situation in the calmest demeanor possible. Croney acknowledged, however, that its unclear where fault lies in that situation.

In 2014, three students claimed Bear Security was excessively forceful with one of them, who was drunk at the 100 Nights Dance. One of those students claimed that a Bear guard had screamed at him that he was going to break the student’s phone if he didn’t stop recording the incident.

Croney said that a Lafayette-Lehigh event his sophomore year was also run by Bear Security and he said felt it was not run smoothly.

“It was kind of loosely run by them. It wasn’t as tight as ESP has been for the past month.”

Troxell said that he believes the break from Bear was a business move.

“From my perspective it was a business decision based on quality of service, price, things like that,” he said.

Troxell added that if a student organization wanted to hire Bear Security, they would be still be able to. Greek life advisor Dan Ayala wrote in an email that he communicated to the Greek presidents that Lafayette no longer partnered with Bear.

Both Troxell and Kristin Cothran, the Director of Student Involvement, said that the change had nothing to do with any specific problems with Bear Security.

“The college put out a bid for event security and selected a different vendor,” Cothran wrote in an email.

Troxell said that, while he does not recall that specific incident at 100 Nights in 2014, with any security company, there is always the chance of an altercation.

“With the Lafayette-Lehigh game, there may be some things that happen during the game. With 13,000 people you have issues.” Troxell said. “They’re required to observe and report to us. You could have physical confrontations and fights and things, you have to deal with that kind of stuff.”

Troxell said that the college has starting partnering with a variety of different security companies including Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC), Strike Force Protective Services, Lehigh Valley Law and ESP Security, and the decision on which one to hire for specific events is determined by several factors including experience in crowd control, availability,  equipment, response time and overall quality of service.

About Lucie Lagodich

Lucie Lagodich '22 is the Editor in Chief of The Lafayette. She studies Policy Studies and Geology with a concentration in Environmental Policy and a minor in Spanish.

Leave a Reply

*