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Saturday, October 01, 2022
<p class="p1">From left, UF nutritional sciences freshman Stephie Cyril, 17, requests a walking escort from student volunteers, UF political science junior Ryan Wolis, 20, and UF finance sophomore Nathaniel Reiff, 19, outside Library West on Tuesday night.</p>

From left, UF nutritional sciences freshman Stephie Cyril, 17, requests a walking escort from student volunteers, UF political science junior Ryan Wolis, 20, and UF finance sophomore Nathaniel Reiff, 19, outside Library West on Tuesday night.

This semester, students have one fewer option for getting home safely.

The University Police Department’s Walk Safe program is no longer running due to a lack of funding.

The university is currently focusing on other ways to increase nighttime safety, said Jen Day Shaw, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students.

While she said she hopes the school resurrects the program, which provided door-to-door service for students living on campus and Sorority Row, it was only funded through the Spring semester. The school’s current priority is continuing to offer discounted rides through Uber, she said.

All enhanced measures following last September’s string of assaults, except Walk Safe, will remain, she said. UF increased the number of Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol vans and Later Gator buses.

She said she recommends making a plan with friends before walking home and said she hopes reinforcing the "U Matter, We Care" message of making good choices will serve as a reminder for students to be careful.

"I just believe if we look out for each other, that goes a long way," Day Shaw said.

Michelle Tapia, a UF journalism and theatre sophomore, worked as a supervisor for Walk Safe last Spring. She said she is disappointed to see it discontinued.

The program was more intimate than taking SNAP or the bus, the 19-year-old said.

"It’s comforting to know if you’re out late studying, that there would be a pair of students waiting to walk you to your car or home," she said.

From left, UF nutritional sciences freshman Stephie Cyril, 17, requests a walking escort from student volunteers, UF political science junior Ryan Wolis, 20, and UF finance sophomore Nathaniel Reiff, 19, outside Library West on Tuesday night.

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