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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Escort service numbers up after incident

Following the recently reported sexual assault of a University student near campus, the campus escort service has seen a spike in the number of calls it has received.

In the week preceding the attack, there were 156 students who requested to be escorted.

Since the attack, that number has increased to more than 240 students.

The main purpose of the group is to make sure any student who is worried about getting from place to place on campus does not have to go alone.

A total of 11 student employees are staffed to escort people to their destinations.

In addition to escorting students on foot, the group also has a vehicle that can be used to take students to and from work.

One of the group’s supervisors, senior Brandon Scribner, said there is a sense of self-fulfillment that comes from working for the escort service.

“It comes with a heightened level of responsibility,” Scribner said.

This service is also for faculty and staff. The escort service is there to ensure that anybody who feels the need for a safer way to get somewhere has one.

The group was originally started in the early ’80s as a volunteer organization before becoming an official University funded organization in 1996.

When the Escort Service changed over to a student organization, they started getting funding from the Department of Public Safety and this enabled them to get a vehicle so that they could take students off campus quicker.

A problem the group faced early on was the lack of interest to volunteer for the group and this resulted in odd hours.

Now, however, the service runs from Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. They are staffed with five to people every night to ensure that everybody who calls can get the service that they request.

A separate problem they faced was only being able to do walks, limiting the amount of people they were able to serve.

Now, most of the trips that the group takes are done by vehicle. Scribner estimates, “We drive 98 percent of the time. For every 50 drives, there is one walk.”

“The service was modeled after other in-state MAC Schools,” Police Sergeant John Shumaker said. Shumaker took over the running of the organization in 1998.

Senior Jordan Poynter, another of the group’s supervisors, stated “it’s a better feeling to walk,” because it gives him, “a more gratifying feeling.”

Traffic tends to be higher on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because those are the leading days for on-campus student activities and people want a safe way to get back to their dorm, apartment or car.

Traffic also increases during the winter as it gets colder and darker. The average number of calls during the colder months shoots up to between 300 to 350 people per week.

The Escort Service also has a separate function they perform during home football games. They are another set of eyes and ears for the police and help to deter crime around tent city before and after the games. They also watch the possessions of the band members during the half-time show so people don’t walk up and steal things from them.

According to Shumaker, nobody has ever been attacked or threatened while being escorted by the service.

In addition, on several occasions they have prevented theft on campus, including stopping somebody from stealing a University owned golfcart and preventing a group of students from taking the pads from the volleyball nets.

When somebody calls and wants to use this service, they will need to provide the pickup and drop-off point, their first name as well as the names of anybody who is going with them and the color of their shirt so they will be easily recognizable. Any and all information they provide will be kept completely confidential.

The direct phone number to get in touch with the Campus Escort Service is (419) 372-8360.

Even though they say that on busy nights, it might take as many as 30 to 45 minutes to respond to a call, Scribner says, “We will gladly still do our jobs and do our best to ensure a safe walk to your destination.”

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