Safe Walk underused

By Adriana Lein

Macalester students often find themselves in the library or the Campus Center studying late at night. For those students who do not feel comfortable walking home alone, Macalester Safe Walk will escort them.According to their mission statement on the Macalester College Web site, “the purpose of the Safe Walk serviceis to provide a safe walk for Macalester students, faculty, and staff within a one mile radius from the campus boundaries.”

Safe Walk operates Sunday through Thursday from 8:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m., Friday from 10:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. and Saturday from 10:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. At these times, escorts can be found in the Campus Center.

One concern about Safe Walk is that the hours end relatively early, especially on weekends when students often stay out past 1 a.m.

Terry Gorman, the director of safety and security, said that Safe Walk’s hours were determined because “they are the hours of darkness” and students generally do not need Safe Walk Services before 9 p.m.

Gorman said that students could benefit from hours being extended. However, it would be difficult to find safe walkers who would be willing to work later because Safe Walk is so infrequently used.

“Hardly anyone calls when I am working,” escort Ingrid Korsgard said. “At most, I escort one or two people every other week.”

She noted that students who live off campus and do not want to walk long distances in the dark most frequently use Safe Walk. But use by students living in residence halls is rare.

When a call is made to Safe Walk, it is taken in the security dispatch office. The person on duty then asks for the name and location of the student calling and relays the information by radio to the escorts.

Another common complaint made by students who have used Safe Walk is that they often have a long wait. Korsgard explained that part of the delay could be attributed to the fact that the escorts have to first locate each other, as a group of 2-4 escorts is sent to each student.

Gorman had no official number of the amount of Safe Walk usages this year.

The general consensus is that students assume individual responsibility over safety precautions for walking at night, and thus do not seek the services of Safe Walk.

“When I’m walking home late at night for a long distance, I always am with a group of people.” Clare MacMillen ’13 said. “The campus is well lit, and I feel safe. I’ve never felt that I needed Safe Walk.