The University should improve 624-WALK

The student security monitors on staff are often spread too thin on peak nights.

On-campus crime has been a cause for concern for many University of Minnesota students this year. With increasingly brazen crimes, such as an armed robbery in Anderson Hall, it’s no surprise that students have asked more from administration on campus safety.

Vice President for University Services Pam Wheelock’s public safety updates and crime alerts urge students, faculty and staff to use 612-624-WALK. The service provides callers with a security monitor to escort them anywhere on campus and parts of surrounding
neighborhoods.

The service can play an important role in reducing crime on and around campus. However, the program may be putting too much pressure on its student employees as demand overwhelms the number of student monitors available to respond to calls. After most crime alerts, there is an increase in 624-WALK calls, a spike that can demand more than the security monitors can handle in a single night.

Several security monitors told the Minnesota Daily about their job’s strain. Extra shifts and awkward hours lead many new recruits to quit after a few weeks. The program’s pressures should not lead to unnecessarily long wait times that cause callers to walk home instead.

The University must do more to alleviate the stress associated with the security monitor program. Ideally, more recruits and higher employee retention rates would help spread the workload and make the job less exhausting for students. Raising the pay from $9 to $11 an hour was a great start, but monitors should also receive fairer hours. This may prevent crime and make campus a safer place.