Two sexual assaults occurred on Cal Poly’s campus within the same week, early in October. This has led Cal Poly’s Mustang Patrol Program to make efforts to expand its hours to ensure student safety at night.
Cal Poly Police Chief George Hughes said that Mustang Patrol is much more than a safety walking escort program. “They’re another set of eyes and ears for the public safety department,” Hughes said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, business administration junior Sara Dada used Mustang Patrol at least twice a week.“Anytime I was in the library late at night, it was my go-to way to make sure I got home safe,” Dada said.
Dada also said she recommends the service to any student who has to walk far distances on campus at night.
Students who call for an escort will be asked to provide a name, a pick-up location, a drop-off location and a phone number. Two student escorts will then arrive on bicycles wearing identifiable yellow shirts or jackets, confirm the student’s identity and escort them to their destination.
Psychology junior Madison Bevilaqua said that if the program expands its hours, it’s a resource she would seriously consider using. “Given the recent events that have gone on on campus, it’s a bit disconcerting to walk alone,” Bevilaqua said.
Currently, the program is only offered four nights a week, which means it is not available when Bevilaqua walks home from work on campus three nights a week.
Bevilaqua said she feels less afraid when walking home when she carries pepper spray and calls her mom.
Mustang Patrol is currently short-staffed, but Chief Hughes said they are in the process of hiring more people to expand the hours. “We hope within the next week or so that we’ll be able to do at least five, six days a week, with the ultimate goal of seven days a week,” Hughes said.
For now, when the patrol is not available, Hughes recommends that students walk with a friend and stay in well-lit areas.
Mustang Patrol’s current hours are Thursday nights from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.