Safe Ride is an essential service for Washington College students

By Emma Campbell

Elm Staff Writer

Rumors of budget cuts for the Safe Ride program have been circulating around our campus as of late. Rumor has it that the Student Government Association, which runs the program, plans to allocate some of the money used toward Safe Ride for other unnamed programs.

So far, these reports have gone unconfirmed by Washington College or student officials. Representatives for Safe Ride and the SGA were contacted for comment but have yet to respond to any rumors of budget cuts. Safe Ride is a WC organization that shuttles students to and from Chestertown and the WC campus. The service is often used by intoxicated students returning to their dorms from the local bars. Before it was founded, inebriated

WC students would walk back to campus or drive themselves. Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of accidental death among adults ages 18–25, according to Los Angeles DUI experts. It is admirable that student leaders recognized this and implemented an organization to prevent such tragedies from happening at the college. Without the help of Safe Ride, students could encounter a much higher rate of injuries as they return to campus from a night of drinking.

The service also provides a layer of safety in traveling around Chestertown. Though the town is already very safe, students appreciate this added comfort. According to the SGA webpage, “Safe Ride protects Washington College students from potential physical or verbal harassment from non-students.”

Since the organization’s founding, students have complained less of harassment. With less students trespassing on private property as they walk back to campus, the school has developed a more courteous relationship with the rest of the town.

Safe Ride is one of the most responsible student-run organizations on campus. Budget cuts would presumably impact the salaries of hardworking student drivers. With the amount of drunken antics that Safe Ride drivers put up with while on the job, it would be unfair to slice their salaries. Lower pay would also discourage other responsible student drivers from applying for jobs with Safe Ride in the future.

The organization is an important staple of WC. It draws prospective students and parents to the school with its focus on safety, and provides one of the most frequently-used services on campus. Cutting the Safe Ride budget in any capacity would do more harm to the college than good.

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