If you are one of the students who would regularly call SafeRide on the weekend, unfortunately, they have made the official call to not operate for this upcoming semester. Although some can find this disappointing, the organization made the call to ensure the safety of the student population and to limit the spread of COVID-19 to the best of its ability.
“We just want the community to know that we really heavily debated whether we were going to operate … we discussed with many different administrators, advisors, and staff to attempt to make the most effective decision,” Cochair of Operations and Finance Gabriela Torres explained on the situation.
A critical factor that influenced their decision to shut down operations was the Salisbury administration's attempts to gain detailed information on students who utilized the services; this information would include a student’s gull card, phone number, and destination location for tracking purposes.
“One of the most important aspects of SafeRide is keeping our patrons anonymous … people use SafeRide because they feel safe that they won’t get into trouble, and we didn’t want to give people the insecurity that we would give their information to the university,” Torres continued.
In addition to incorporating tracking methods, the administration was striving to solely allow two students to occupy a van throughout their operation. As each van can hold 15 students each, it did not seem profitable or viable to operate in such a fashion.
Furthermore, using the vehicles in this fashion would prove to be environmentally degrading due to the vehicles' large size and the minimal number of passengers.
Although this development is disappointing to the student body, the SafeRide organization is working in conjunction with the administration to have the services back in full operation by the Fall Semester 2021.
The organization wants to ensure the student body that they are still operating behind the scenes to give back to the campus community.
“We are not taking this as an off-time and not doing anything to benefit SafeRide, but we’re taking this time (to restructure). It is really important to us that when we can operate, we can reintegrate as smoothly as possible,” Director of Personnel and Cochair of Operations and Finance Chloe Birch commented.
The organization is utilizing this time to reconstruct the organization's power relations; they are using a hybrid model of the direct power structure and a presidential assignment of power. This individual will act as a liaison between the organization itself and the SU administrators working with the organization.
“This model will ultimately create more efficiency within SafeRide … it will allow us to work at a greater capacity and accomplish more within the organization,” SafeRide’s General Assistant Garrett Birsa added.
In addition to the restructuring of their internal operation, SafeRide is working with CSIL to organize a drug safety and awareness event within the next upcoming month.
SafeRide will still be active on campus as in years past through their participation within the upcoming Rely for Life; they will also be holding their annual 5K run projected to occur at the end of the semester in May.
Although SafeRide will not be operating this spring, there is still a plethora of other options to accessing forms of transportation when you are under the influence.
“Please be safe and be wise. There are other resources besides SafeRide, so please do not drive under any form of intoxication,” Director of Employee Relations and Cochair of Operations and Finance Mia Coyle advocated.
No matter the distance, driving under forms of intoxication is dangerous to yourself and everyone else on the road. Take an Uber or call a taxi because there is no excuse for driving under the influence. If you choose to go out, do so with safety, wear your mask, and wash your hands regularly and often.
By STEPHANIE RIVERA Gull Life editor
Photo credit: SU SafeRide Facebook.