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The University Council Safety and Security Committee is considering possible changes in walking and riding Escort Services. Jeffrey Jacobson, co-chairperson of the committee, said this week that some of the major issues that need to be addressed include the number of escorts for walking Escort, the area the services cover, and the hours they operate. Jacobson said Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape has suggested that each walking escort consist of a man and a woman in order to reduce discomfort if a female is just being escorted by a man. STAAR Coordinator Erica Strohl said some women have said they are uncomfortable in such a one on one situation. But Strohl added the main change that students want is for riding Escort to extend its hours. "The main thing we're hearing from the students is that they want Escort to run from sunset to sunup," Strohl said. College senior Mike Murphy, an Escort Service dispatcher, said last night the service operates from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Jacobson also said the Graduate and Professional Students Association has asked riding Escort to extend the area it covers. GAPSA Vice-Chairperson Elizabeth Hunt said last night extending Escort coverage over the Market Street bridge toward downtown would show that the University cares about the needs of graduate students, many of whom live east of campus. "We feel that if they really want to serve our needs better, they need to take a closer look at what our needs really are," Hunt said. Hunt added the fact that Escort does not go further downtown prevents many graduate students, especially women, from looking for housing outside the University area. "You'll find that more and more female graduate students are living closer to campus because they can't use Escort," Hunt said. "I was looking for an apartment next year but I nixed downtown because I couldn't use Escort to get home." Escort Dispatcher Murphy said that at present, vans go only as far east as 29th Street and cannot serve students who live downtown. Jacobson added that the administration realizes some changes have to be made and will work to do so. But some of the improvement must come from a change in the attitudes of the students, he said. "What every student needs to ask his/herself each time they use Escort, especially riding escort, is whether they are using it for their own safety or for their own convenience," Jacobson said. "We've got the perfect conditions to improve Escort," Jacobson added. "The solution to these problems will only come about when the administration agrees to spend more money on the services, and when the students decide that they will only take Escort when they need it and not every time they just want it." Jacobson also stressed that plans to improve Escort Services are not the result of the series of recent minor traffic accidents involving Escort vans in recent months. Jacobson said students should not let these minor incidents sway them into believing that riding Escort vans is unsafe. "Minor traffic accidents happen everywhere," Jacobson said. "We have no careless or reckless drivers driving the vans. It should also be pointed out that in the years escort has been operating, with up to 10 vans on the street at a time, there has never been an accident with any serious injuries."

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