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Around midnight after her shift at Bird Library, Erica Negrini called a security escort shuttle from the Syracuse University Department of Public Security.
After more than 15 minutes, the shuttle had not shown up and Negrini said she was starting to feel uncomfortable and in danger. It was then, Negrini said, that she noticed someone idling near her and started following her.
“As a freshman, so late I didn’t feel comfortable coming back to Flint on my own after midnight,” Negrini said. “I called security [shuttle] again, and they said they couldn’t help me anymore.
In recent years, students have filed numerous complaints against DPS regarding the security escort shuttle. In February, Loretta Lynch released her DPS review. After dealing with the complaints and carrying out her investigation, she recommended that the security escort service be transferred to another department. Students would be better protected and served that way, she said.
I called back security (shuttle) and they said they couldn’t help me anymore
Erica Negrini, APV student
On June 29, DPS announced that SU parking and transportation services were going to resume all shuttle escort services with the university from July 1.
The DPS did not respond to multiple interview requests concerning the transfer of the escort shuttle service out of the department.
Lynch believed that previous policies for requesting a DPS shuttle – such as determining the severity level of a “suspicious circumstance” or “high-risk neighborhood” – were too subjective. Responsibility should be transferred to another department, she said.
The new shuttle service no longer requires a “team car response to escort requests,” said Jennifer Horvath, director of communications for business, financial and administrative services. She also said there was no longer an undefined policy regarding the interpretation of “suspicious circumstances” and “high risk neighborhoods,” which could result in unfair policing of students of color identified in Lynch’s report. .
As part of the new model of security shuttle service, PTS will be able to determine the need for an escort with less bias because Lynch said that accountability does not require public safety expertise.
Since July 1, the security escort shuttle operates 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly and should be requested by calling 315-443-7433 (RIDE). The shuttles will only operate in areas where other means of transport do not work. PTS provided students with a map which details the limits within which the shuttles run.
The map shows that the security escort shuttles operate within the approximate boundaries of W. Washington Street to Armory Square, Skytop Road near I-481, Westmoreland Ave and E. Fayette St.
The shuttle service under PTS is intended to be a secondary resource when other modes of transport, such as the ” Cuse Trolley and Centro bus, are not available, said Horvath.
“The service is not intended to be used as free ridesharing, and students requesting rides will be directed to other transportation options if or when available,” Horvath added.
Negrini, however, believes the limits are not necessarily sufficient for areas of Syracuse where students may need to request a security escort shuttle.
“I wish they took our security more seriously,” said Negrini. “I was put in a really awkward and honestly dangerous position this past semester. I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.
Posted on September 2, 2021 at 12:12 am
Contact Karolina: [email protected]