Safe Ride Service Switches to Safe Walk

NOOR QADRI ‘19

STAFF WRITER

Imagine being out late at night walking back to your dorm and suddenly you feel someone following close behind. You start to walk fast, but so do they and this scares you. You pull out your phone and call someone or pretend to do so. With a safety escort you can avoid this feeling altogether.

Though safety escort is changing a few things about its service, it still provides student with the same feeling for being safe on Denison Campus. In recent years, the safety escort provided a service that transported students to various locations on campus.  Now the service has gone back to having Denison students that work for the safety escort, walk the students that call in to their destination, unless someone needs a ride to Whistler.

Daniel Hect, Direction of Campus Safety, said that when he came to Denison he brought the shuttle system idea with him.

“I came here two and half years ago in winter and said there is no way they [students] should be walking, we should give them rides, so we decided to change the escort service so that everyone could get a ride,” Hect said.

However, this change in the escort put a strain on the workload that came with this decision.

“Last year we had over 12,000 rides. That’s a lot of rides, and I don’t have the personnel or the available resources to provide basically a courtesy shuttle for students, faculty and staff,” Hect said. With such an increase, Campus Safety had to reevaluate the shuttle system’s position and consider what was the most effective way to help Denison students and the faculty working in the safety office.

Hect went on to say, “Therefore we are going back to the system that worked, which is a medical transport for people on a list for Whistler and people that need an escort, it could be a vehicle or foot escort, but it’s for safety purposes only.”

With this system, people who really need a security escort will receive one, but the next time a student calls security escort it will be by foot and not in a vehicle.

Hect decided to not only to change the vehicle service to an on foot escort, but to also make safety escorting a student-run organization.

“I am a big community policy advocate and having students involved in campus safety is an important piece to that, so i would like student workers to work for campus safety and a broader roll, that’s why I made it a student-run organization, to make those different changes they want to. This is now a student run system because I want input from them,” said Hect.

Hect wants students to be a part of this service and hopefully together they will be able to make guide the future of the security office.

A backlash that Hect suspects is that the students were familiar with the old system and won’t want to change.

“A lot of the time the officers were just doing escorts and it was overwhelming. So I see the backlash they were used to it. You could walk here faster than take a ride, and they were getting rides from the corner to the dining halls because it was wet outside. I just don’t have the numbers to sustain that,” Hect said.

Hect hopes that the students and the security escort will be brought together to establish a healthy relationship. Though the security system is different than what some students are used to, the campus safety office says it will help provide a system that bring together students and the faculty.

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