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Student senate hears SafeBouND presentation from NDSP

| Thursday, September 15, 2016

In a continuation of the campus conversation about SafeBouND, Senate welcomed Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) Capt. Tracy Skibins to their meeting Wednesday.

Skibins, along with student supervisor senior Michael Pohl, spoke about some of the continuing concerns regarding the campus safety program, while also encouraging students to send feedback straight to NDSP.

“We have not had a single complaint given to us yet,” Skibins said. “We want the comments so we can keep improving and changing to fit the students.”

The pair also reported some recent changes, including an extension of the 2:30 a.m. closing time on Thursday through Saturday to 3 a.m.

“It’s something that you guys suggested that was easy to do,” Skibins said.

These recent changes also included better identification for students working with SafeBouND, including reflective vests, a mandatory NDSP ID and amber lights for the golf carts and minivan that are in operation during the week. Skibins said shamrock decorations may even be added to make the vehicles more recognizable.

Other potential changes designed to decrease wait times for students were presented as works-in-progress and included reintroducing the use of golf carts during the weekends, but only along the edges of campus.

Pohl added that the use of walkers would reduce waiting time no matter what.

“The highest wait time [last year] was 88 minutes,” Pohl said. “We wanted to bring that number down.”

Additionally, Skibins said such changes would not be implemented until later in the year, once the service is more widely known and steadily used.

She also drew attention to the history of safety programs such as this on campus.

“The original ‘SafeWalk’ was created 25 years ago, strictly as a walking program,” Skibins said.

Originally a student’s idea, the program remained a walking service until the introduction of O’SNAP in 2014, which incorporated golf carts into the program. Skibins said O’SNAP at first was unknown and slow to take hold as a popular service, and that by looking at the original records and statistics of the first few weeks of O’SNAP, NDSP hopes to get a better sense of how the new program is taking hold in comparison.

“In the past 15 days, 115 rides have been provided by SafeBouND,” Skibins said.

Although she does not yet have the data on SafeBouND, Skibins said she is confident that use will pick up as the year goes on, as more efforts to promote the program are being developed.

After being asked if there was any way to cater the program to people who felt unsafe as well as those interested in the program’s use as a “party shuttle,” in order to appease disgruntled students on campus, Skibins said it would not be in the spirit of the original creation of the service.

“We have to remember the purpose of this program, and that it is a safety service, not as a convenience,” she said.

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