CUPD Lieutenant Rich Gourley speaks on the Blue Light Escort Service to the Cornell community at a town hall meeting Saturday.

Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Senior Photographer

CUPD Lieutenant Rich Gourley speaks on the Blue Light Escort Service to the Cornell community at a town hall meeting Saturday.

April 24, 2016

Cornell Police Promotes Blue Light Escort Service

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Members of the Cornell University Police Department and the Cornell community urged improvements to Cornell’s Blue Light Escort service — a program that allows students to request chaperones to destinations on or near campus — at a town hall on Saturday.

The program’s greatest weakness is that it is underutilized, according to James Toomey ’16, Cornell Police Auxiliary. Toomey said underage students who are intoxicated fear escorts will report them for drinking and others are deterred by the program’s long response time — as escorts can sometimes take 15 to 20 minutes to reach their student, according to Toomey.

“In this context, it’s clear how many younger students would choose to walk home by themselves in circumstances that are not very safe rather than call for an escort,” he said.

However, escorts can only call for a medical evaluation if the student appears to be dangerously intoxicated and the Good Samaritan protocol typically protects these situations, Toomey said.

He added that the best way to address this issue is through public relations promotion.

“The department should under the motto: ‘Any person, any circumstance,’” Toomey said. “Whoever you are, whatever you’re doing, we’ll get you home safely.”

Students from Cayuga’s Watchers said they have ad­dressed similar misconceptions using publicity and collaboration with the Greek community.

“We’ve gotten the opportunity to an­swer questions where people have mis­­­con­ceptions, and that’s really had a positive impact,” said Lauren Clay ’17, a member of Cayuga’s Watchers.

The length of response time is important in ensuring that students use the blue light program, but will be more difficult to address, according to Toomey.

“People simply aren’t going to use the service if it doubles the amount of time it takes for them to get home,” he said.

One possible solution to this issue is guaranteeing a feasible response time that will still ensure that students are willing to use the service, he said.

“My guess is that anything over 10 minutes would be too long,” Toomey said, adding that making this a reality could prove difficult.

Escorts do not want to use vehicles to transport students, because CUPD doesn’t “want peo­­ple taking ad­­vantage of it as a free taxi service,” Toomey said. However, the service has considered implementing text messaging or an app that will allow students to schedule their escort in advance and gauge response time, according to Toomey.

  • asdf

    Instead of wasting even more money on a useless program, why we get rid of it and lower the astronomical tuition? Oh wait, that, along with reality, doesn’t fit the Cornell ideology.

    • Cornell Alum ’93

      @asdf. If you believe the tuition to be too high, why did you choose to apply to and then enroll at Cornell?

      I usually eat at reasonably priced restaurants… the kinds of places where a meal costs $8-12 per person. One time, a few years ago, not really paying much attention to the menu, my wife and I went into a much fancier/more expensive restaurant than we would normally eat at. We saw the menu after we were seated. We realized how expensive it was (maybe $25-$35 per person type of a place). But, we decided to eat there anyway. Anyhow… once we were inside, seated, ordered our food, ate our food and got our check… It’s time to pay, period. You don’t complain after you’ve decided to order the goods/services and after you’ve received the goods/services.

      You had your chance to not go to Cornell. The tuition amount is published and can be known way before you filled out your application. If you deemed the tuition amount to be “astronomical” then you should have not applied to Cornell. But, now that you did… well, pay your bill and don’t complain about it!

  • Lee

    I think the “take it or leave it ” approach to life is not consistent with a cornell education. In 1990, when presumably this alumnus was in school, the tuition for endowed schools was 15,164 and the resident non-endowed was 5,994. Next year , this tuition will be 50,953 and non-endowed 34,209. This represents a 3.5 x increase and 5.7x respectively. Using the same rate of inflation, a gallon of milk would cost 10 dollars and a 1st class stamp would be 88 cents. No one in higher education feels good about this rate of increase and yet there is seemingly little they can do about it. Surely, the universities in America have strayed from their original missions. Transparency about costs and expenditures is necessary to prevent the type of cynicism which is slowly taking hold in recent grads and current students. It is a difficult problem , one which requires innovative thinking and a sense of fairness. i think that surely we can find innovative and fair people amongst us Cornellians past present and future