SONJAY SINGH ’15
Complaints about safety on campus have always been a central discussion about ways to improve the climate at Trinity. Although Campus Safety has made strides in the last few months towards improving security at night including expanding their staff and monitoring more locations across campus, there is still more which could be done. The Campus Safety shuttle has been a particular problem for many students who cite reliability, ease of access and even disrespect from the drivers as some of the dissuading factors in the shuttle being a useful form of transportation.
One problem in particular is the lack of functionality to the online tracker, a system still advertised on the website despite the fact that it hasn’t been functional for several months. Although a tracker is a fairly common feature for campus shuttles, being used in similar schools such as Brandeis and Tufts, it has not been maintained at Trinity. Other schools such as Washington University in St. Louis have a set schedule so that students know where the shuttle will be and when. On a campus in which crime is common especially at night, every effort should be made to minimize the amount of time that students spend walking. The lack of a tracker forces students to wait outside for up to 45-minutes according to some reports in high-risk areas such as outside Anadama, Vernon Street and Allen Street. There is also no way of knowing when the shuttle is offline for an employee break. Although the drivers deserve the time-off, more of an effort needs to be made to notify the student body when this is occurring so that they can plan accordingly.
More concerning are the many reports of drivers being openly hostile. One female student who chose to remain anonymous reports trying to flag down a shuttle from Allen and being completely ignored by the driver. After rushing to catch the shuttle, the driver stopped briefly to mockingly open and shut the doors before flashing the student her middle finger and driving away. Reportedly, this was at 1:55 making it the last shuttle of the night and forcing the student to walk back alone. This kind of behavior by employees tasked with our safety is completely unacceptable and suggests a systemic disrespect of the student body by campus safety employees. Even putting the disrespect aside, a shuttle driver should never leave a student stranded on Broad Street in any situation, especially when they are operating the last shuttle of the night. “If you’re going to promote people taking the shuttle, it needs to be more reliable. It shouldn’t be this burdensome event where you don’t know when it will arrive, have trouble getting it to stop and are disrespected when you get one,” said one student in response to these issues.
Although campus safety is generally very pleasant with many representatives such as Officer Habibovic and Officer Lee quickly gaining reputations for fairness and prompt response, it does not excuse the actions of this particular shuttle driver.
Although I am sure that transporting inebriated students cannot be easy this is no excuse for disrespect for the student body or for the various other problems with the shuttle. To simply bring the service up to the standard level of operation seen at most schools would not be difficult and we should begin moving towards it as soon as possible.