Eagle Escort, a critical branch of the Boston College Police Department, has been experiencing efficiency issues this winter. However, the Council for Students with Disabilities, along with Dean Mogan and the BCPD, are making efforts to collaborate on possible initiatives to improve the functioning and response of the Eagle Escort service.
Eagle Escort is a service provided by BCPD in order to “provide safety services for all members of the Boston College community traveling in and around campus.” The Eagle Escort shuttles students back and forth from the infirmary and Saint Elizabeth's, transports students with disabilities and/or injuries around campus, and is designed to be a 'safe ride' for those who feel unsafe getting around campus, typically at night. Often times, the resource of one van does not meet these vast needs, and as a result, the van is either extremely late or does not show up at all.
Amidst the recent snowy weather where the service has been in high demand, there has been increased conversation as to the efficiency of Eagle Escort.
Mary Royer, LSOE ‘17, the Chair of the Council for Students with Disabilities, said, "For students with disabilities, particularly those who rely on the van, this can be very isolating and problematic in terms of getting to class or academic obligations.”
However, Royer is the first of many to remind us of BCPD’s continued commitment to Eagle Escort. “They are aware that the resource does not meet the needs [of students]. I have worked on this initiative extensively for the past two years, and the administration—particularly BCPD and Dean Mogan—is very receptive,” she said.
Since much of the inefficiency seems to be sourced from an overextension of the service due to shuttles being forced to spread out over a large area, Royer, in discussions with both Mogan and the BCPD, has suggested a new alternative: that the Eagle Escort functions for the most part as a transportation service for students with injuries and disabilities to get around campus, while the Saint Elizabeth’s shuttle functions independently to transport students to and from the hospital.
This proposed initiative would eliminate much of the current congestion that Eagle Escort faces due to the transportation of students from the BC infirmary to Saint Elizabeth’s, thereby allowing the service more time to focus on students residing on-campus who are injured or disabled.
The Council for Students with Disabilities maintains a good relationship with the Office of the Dean, as Mogan said, “We meet periodically with Mary and her team, and at the end of last semester, she brought up that there were some general comments about the lateness of the shuttle, etc.”
The Dean of Students wants to make sure that the proper resources are allocated to this service, while also making sure to keep students expectations in check. “We’re having the conversations, [and] it’s going to take the additional resources, but we also want to have that bigger conversation about students’ expectations,” said Mogan. He is quick to remind students that Eagle Escort is for student safety and not “a taxi service.”
This push for change is moving along, as Mogan added, “Where we are right now [is that] we’ve gone back as a group to BCPD, Parking and Transportation, and Health Services, and we’ve all agreed to meet to try to identify where the issues are, and where can we move forward in terms of addressing the students’ concerns.”
With warmer weather on the horizon, the congestion of Eagle Escort calls will hopefully subside. However, in the meantime, both UGBC, BCPD, and the Office of the Dean will continue to work tirelessly to come up with a solution that caters to the needs of all BC students. “Students brought forth a concern, and we met with them to hear their concerns. We’re working to address them and to make sure the students know the results of those conversations. And that’s the way the system is supposed to work,” said Mogan.