A new student program helps ensure night safety
The debate over the safety of Wooster students has been met with a new response from the student body: a student-led safewalk program. The Brothers of Diversity (BoD) is sponsoring a new program on campus that provides escorts to walk students home in potentially unsafe situations. BoD member Michael Garcia ’12 began organizing the project two weeks ago in response to concerns brought up by members of the organization, especially women, about the safety of campus following the SGA and Campus Council-sponsored student safety forum two weeks ago. The program will consist of a group of students who will be on-call weekend nights to escort any student home who does not feel safe walking by themselves. The escorts will not enter buildings with the students, and will remain sober for the entirety of their shifts.
“We’re not trying to replace the role of security,” says Garcia, “but help it with its most important priority. A lot of talk has gone into the Safe, Sober, Smart program, but we need to try harder to support the safety aspect of that.” This new approach is a response to Security and Protective Service’s lack of resources and staff, as well as the fear that some students feel when calling security while inebriated. Following the recent string of violent encounters with community members on campus and most notably several sightings of sex offenders, the safety of the student body has been increasingly called into question.
Group members say that the safewalk project complements the two-year old organization’s existing goals of promoting diversity.
To president Patrick Lai-Fang ’13 “our organization should have a role in the safety of this campus. You can’t promote diversity without feeling safe around each other.”
BoD member Laura Haldane ‘13 agreed. “Our goal as an organization is not just to promote diversity, but also the protection of everyone who goes to Wooster,” said Haldane.
So far, the program has found support with Men of Harambee and the Wooster Progressive students. Currently, the core of the group is the members of BoD, but any student is welcome to volunteer. BoD’s program follows similar student-run safewalk programs that have become prominent at universities such as Brown, Virginia and Illinois, as well as the organization’s continuing activism tutoring students at the Cornerstone Elementary School and mentoring troubled youth through the Village Network. Any student who is interested in contributing to the safewalk program is welcome to email Garcia at MGarcia12@wooster.edu, or Lai-Fang at PLai-Fang13@wooster.edu.