Following recent crimes at and around Texas A&M, it is important for students and faculty to be aware of the safety resources on campus.
Even with the presence of campus and local police departments, crimes, such as the Sept. 2 sexual assault in front of Moses Hall, can still happen. From the Corps of Cadets escorts, to Texas A&M CARPOOL, to emergency phones, anyone feeling unsafe around campus has safety options to assist them.
Approximately 140 emergency phones on campus are a quick way to contact University Police. To find these phones, search “Emergency Phone” on Aggie Maps or look for one of the 12-foot poles with a blue light around the A&M campus. Upon finding a phone, those in need can immediately talk to a police dispatcher, according to A&M’s Personal Safety Support Information.
“In an emergency, simply open the door on the weatherproof box and press the red button,” the website reads. “The University Police dispatcher will immediately know your exact location. Talk directly into the speaker in the center of the phone.”
Another safety service is the A&M CARPOOL Service which operates around Northgate, across from campus. According to the CARPOOL website, passengers do not have to be an Aggie, be intoxicated or even be a student to utilize this service, which can be reached at 979-693-9905. To comply with COVID-19 guidelines, only three passengers will be allowed in a vehicle at a time. The service will resume on Sept. 25.
“CARPOOL is a student-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the Bryan-College Station community with free rides home every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 10:00 pm to 3:00 am during the spring and fall semesters,” the CARPOOL website reads.
One of the Corps of Cadets’ safety features is the long-standing Corps escort service, available to all students and faculty. International studies senior Gracie Davis is the Corps Operations Officer, with a primary focus on the Corps guardroom, where the service operates from.
“Every year for the last 30-plus years, we’ve had cadets sit every night during the academic school year, unless there’s a university holiday,” Davis said. “On the back of the student IDs, there’s a number that people can call when you’re out on campus and you’re not feeling safe in some way, or just feel like they need a bit of extra added assurance that they’re going to get to their dorms alright.”
Davis said when someone calls the guardroom, a cadet will answer and ask them where they are, for a description of their clothing and where they would like to go. A cadet will then go and meet the caller and walk with them, making sure they get to where they need to be, safely.
Some adjustments have been made to accommodate COVID-19 precautions, Davis said. On a typical night, there would be six cadets in the guardroom, but due to limited capacity, only three stay in the guardroom with the other three remaining in their dorms. Then, if there is a call, the guardroom cadets will notify the cadets in their dorms.
“It’s a 24-hour manned shift on the weekends,” Davis said. “During the academic day, they start at around 5 p.m. and go up until 8 a.m. the next morning, and are on call during the normal school day.”
Each night, a different Corps outfit will man the guardroom, waiting for calls and performing the nightly guardroom procedures. Davis said any cadet answering the phone will follow the same script: “Howdy, Corps of Cadets guardroom. Cadet so-and-so speaking. How may I help you?” Additionally, every outfit who sits in the guardroom must fill out paperwork, containing official documentation of everyone working, every call the room gets and the details of every escort performed by a cadet.
“There’s a checklist that they have to go through starting up in the morning, all the way down to when they finish and brief the next outfit coming in, letting them know what happened the night before,” Davis said.
Davis said the larger outfits usually work in the guardroom on the weekends, since the service typically receives more calls Thursday through Sunday. Davis said she thinks the Corps Escort Service is a valuable resource on campus and encouraged anyone and everyone to call if they feel the slightest bit unsafe.
“I think with us staying up all night, us being on call like this, people know that we’re here, [but] a lot of the time they just don’t call,” Davis said. “So, I think having cadets here on campus, us knowing where everything is, being able to find you quickly and get you to where you’re supposed to be is a great way to feel that sense of security.”