Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Escort team makes campus security visible

Twenty-eight Whitman students can be seen this year patrolling campus with vests that read “Escort.”

These student escorts, employed by Whitman’s Campus Security office, not only provide a valuable service to the Whitman community, but they allow security officers like John DeLaney to spend more time outside keeping campus safe.

“We can be out because we’re not in the dorms checking the hall and the doors of the academic buildings,” said DeLaney.

Jamie Willard ’18, Sean Hays ’17. Photo by Halley McCormick

Escorts cover all the residence halls and academic buildings on campus to make sure outside doors are locked. They also check fire extinguishers and fire alarms in these buildings to make sure they’re in working condition. Additionally, they walk through Penrose Library to make sure only Whitman students are in the building after it closes.  

Though officers like DeLaney double-check doors after the student shifts end, they can do this later when fewer students are out and about.

“We’re more seen … We can be out on the campus,” said DeLaney. “[Escorts can be] another eyes and ears for us.”

Student escorts alert security officers of things happening on campus and increase the visible presence of Campus Security.

DeLaney says this addition has helped Whitman become a safer campus overall in the past few years.

“This campus has mellowed out a lot,” said DeLaney.

Senior Thomas Shellum, who was a student escort for two-and-a-half years, agrees that having bigger numbers of security staff has helped campus safety.

“I think the most [a student escort] contributes to campus is a visual presence. We aren’t actually trained to deal with any type of dangerous or confrontational situations, so if we see something the most we can do is let the security office, or in some case Residence Life staff, know,” said Shellum.

DeLaney attributes increased campus safety to a few different trends in addition to the student escorts.

“It’s more lit up on campus,” he said. “I see more students out walking around, so I’m thinking students are more comfortable.”

DeLaney thinks technology has also played a role in creating a higher sense of security.

“[Students] can just make a phone call if they think something’s going on,” he said.

This trend is reflected in the decrease of requests for student escorts since DeLaney began working at Whitman.

“When I started here, [the escort service] got used quite a bit, but it’s died down,” he said.

Only 14 people used the service last year. Shellum said he only saw one student use the escort service in his time working for security.

“We walked her from Olin to Prentiss fairly early in the evening. Other than that I have never had to escort anyone,” he said.

Though these small numbers indicate a positive trend for campus safety, DeLaney says he wants to see more students requesting escorts.

“I think it should be used more, especially in the winter time when the roads get slick,” said DeLaney.

Senior Emma Nye, who has been an escort for two years, also wishes the service was used more.

“It’s always a nice change of pace to get a call and walk someone wherever they happen to be going,” she said.

The job isn’t lonely, though. Escorts work together in groups.

“The escort shift itself is enjoyable,” said Nye in an email. “We always work in partners so it’s a fun shift to work, and we always run into people we know. The Security staff are really great people to work for. They definitely expect us to work hard and do our jobs well, but they also take the time to work with the students and get to know us.”

Student escorts work from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., but any member of the Whitman community can call the security office at any hour of the day to ask for an escort.

“If a student calls that needs an escort, we drop what we’re doing,” said DeLaney. “They’ll never be denied an escort.”

Escorts will walk two blocks off campus if students need to go somewhere outside of Whitman.

“We’re here for them to use,” said DeLaney.

Jamie Willard ’18. Photo by Halley McCormick.
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