Is Safewalk safe?

By Nicole Kobie

There’s a ray of light on the horizon for Safewalk, amid the dark and ominous budget cuts. In spite of a possible 100 per cent funding cut from the University of Calgary, administration promises to find a way to keep Safewalk operating.

The safety program currently receives funding from both the Students’ Union and administration. On Jan. 21, Safewalk received $5,500 in funding for the next year from the SU, but because of budget cuts announced in November, administration may not offer their usual funding of about $30,000.

“I think it’s irresponsible,” said Safewalk Coordinator Cameron May, adding that expansion of buildings and services creates more opportunity for attacks. “Campus Security has to cover more ground.”

Luckily for Safewalk, administration appear to agree.

“There will be a Safewalk program now and in the future,” said U of C VP Communications Roman Cooney. “We will find a way to keep it.”

The SU and administration are exploring a possible financial partnership to help ease the administration’s budget burdens.

“There’s nothing written in stone yet,” said SU VP Events Irene Enyedy. “But we’ll make sure [Safewalk] stays.”

“[The administration’s] way is to shove it off on the SU,” said May. “But I would totally welcome a partnership, especially if they would dedicate some space.”

If Safewalk becomes entirely SU-funded, May fears they will lose their space in the Campus Security offices. Without a private, secure space, some individuals may not feel comfortable asking for help. As well, Campus Security donates their back-up radios to Safewalk, allowing volunteers to keep in contact with Campus Security, increasing safety. Cutbacks may also cause Safewalk to stop awarding tuition honoraria to their volunteers.

“We may not be able to get volunteers,” said May. “We won’t be able to fill shifts, and will have delayed response times, and it puts more of a burden on Campus Security and they’re getting cutbacks, too.”

“But, like every department at the university, it will need to go through its budget with a fine tooth comb and look for priorities,” explained Cooney.

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