(From The Campus Lantern – October 16, 2014)
Last Thursday, my friend and I took a trip up to Hartford. By the time we got back to campus it was about half-past midnight. With the recent assaults that have been happening on campus in the past few weeks, we did not feel safe walking from the Shakespeare parking garage back to Laurel Hall. That’s when I decided to call our campus’ escort service for the first time.
I called Campus Safety, explained the situation my friend and I were in, and hung up angrily. The dispatcher informed me that the campus escort service does not usually run when the shuttles are running. My friend and I had no choice but to walk back to Laurel in the middle of the night. We did not see one shuttle bus the whole ten-minute walk back to our dorm.
The next day, I looked into what information there was about Public Safety’s escort service on Eastern’s website. The description states: “As part of the ECSU Police Department’s commitment to the safety of our community, an Escort Service is available. Police officers and the student patrol are available to escort individuals to and from any location on campus.” The escort service is such an important safety tactic on campus, and it deserves a more descriptive statement. Unless I called the department, I would not have known what hours the escort service runs. In fact, the website makes it seem like the service is available to students at any time.
I spoke with a few students on campus and they were outraged about my experience. Especially with the recent assaults, every student I talked to agreed that campus police needs to work on making the students feel safer on campus. However, the students are not the only ones who are concerned. I also spoke with officers who work in the Public Safety department, and they are aware of the issue. They are working on hiring more people to work in the department, specifically in the escort service area.
Having gone through the scenario in which it felt like the university didn’t care about my safety, it was a relief to learn that Public Safety knows that the students are worried about the issue. I look forward to seeing the improvements that are taking place to make Eastern Connecticut State University the safest campus that it can be.