The Public Escort Service, also known as Matador Patrol, may lose two new positions if A.S. eliminates their funding for the 2008-09 academic year. A.S. senators will meet to discuss the issue on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Grand Salon.
The $15,000 budget account for the salaries and benefits of a new plan to station one Matador Patrol escort in the University Student Union and another Matador Patrol escort to drive a golf cart from the Oviatt Library with up to three students at a time to their cars, dorms and other areas on campus.
“I don’t want to tell people I can’t do this,” said Captain Scott VanScoy, who oversees the Matador Patrol, a student-run program.
The USU donated the office space where the Matador Patrol escort would be stationed, VanScoy said.
Matador Patrol escorts in the USU have a newly renovated booth to the left of the fitness center, said Jason Wang, USU associate director of operation and services. The booth will be use to store additional equipment and distribute safety material.
For approximately five nights a week, including Matador Nights, the escorts will patrol the USU, Wang said.
Physical Plant Management donated a street legal, four-seat golf cart that a Matador Patrol escort would use to drive students to their on-campus destinations at night.
The USU and the library are highly populated areas at night, VanScoy said. The general policy is to have 10 Matador Patrol escorts that monitor and patrol different parts of campus, he said.
The library and student housing hire additional escorts to patrol those areas.
“Ten isn’t a lot, but with bikes and carts the response time improves the efficiency of the unit,” VanScoy said.
VanScoy employs approximately 35 Matador Patrol escorts each year.
Matador Patrol escorts peaked at 120 after the earthquake, VanScoy said. The number of escorts decreased in 1999 when the campus increased the numbers of buildings, changing the previous orange grove landscape and established the blue light system.
Matador escorts have not performed security since 2001 when the policy changed, but they support the CSUN PD as its eyes and ears, VanScoy said.
“We (campus police) can’t be everywhere,” VanScoy said.
The escorts are trained to identify suspicious activity and report it to the campus police department, VanScoy said. Matador Patrol’s uniforms do not resemble police officer uniforms, so alleged suspects tend to not leave the scene as quickly.
Each Matador Patrol escort goes through an interview process, a background check that includes Livescan, VanScoy said. They fill out a questionnaire, their references are called and they complete training before they are deployed into the field, he said.
Boyoon Kang, a 22-year-old senior liberal studies major, said a golf cart that would take students to their cars and other on-campus destination is a good idea.
“I hate walking to my car from the library because the parking lots are really far,” Kang said. “It does get scary.”
Kang regularly uses the Matador Patrol escorts, particularly during the winter months when it gets dark earlier.
Tara Aminfar, an anthropology graduate student, said escorts are a useful service. As an alumna of the University of Arkansas, Aminfar used their escorts when she stayed late at the library.
Aminfar plans to use CSUN’s Matador Patrol if her work schedule allows her stay late at the library to study. It is safer sometimes to be escorted to parking lots that are further away, VanScoy said.
“It’s faster and more convenient if you drive,” Aminfar said.
A.S. funding is used exclusively for students’ salary and benefits, VanScoy said.
“The past seven years, A.S. has been a great help to us,” said VanScoy, who discussed several advertising campaigns that A.S. helped fund in past years when he asked for additional funding for Matador Patrol.
The uniform and equipment costs are taken from the $36,000 annual campus funding, VanScoy said.
Additional funds from Parking Services are obtained through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
MOU provides about $36,000 that can vary year to year because their funding is based on statistical research of how many students are escorted to the parking structures.
“It is kind of pricey,” said VanScoy about the overhead of the program often seeking outside sources for funding.
“We will survive through this bad budget time, but we won’t be able to necessarily provide or improve the number of services we typically offer in the campus community,” VanScoy said.