According to Temple Police, the use of the walking escort program more than doubled from September to October this semester — but only for certain demographics.
The service, which provides students with bike cops to accompany them on their walks home on or around Main Campus, is more popular among female students than male students.
Joe Garcia, TUPD’s deputy chief of administration, said though there has been an increase in the number of male students who use the walking escort program, female students still use the service more.
Garcia attributes the disparity to gender roles. He’s heard from some parents of male Temple students who have confessed their sons fear they’ll appear weak if they take advantage of the service.
“It’s probably a masculinity thing,” said Taylor Robbins, a senior advertising major. “Even just not knowing about it or not thinking about it. I know it’s not the first thing I think about when I’m leaving campus.”
We’re disappointed to hear that the social construction of masculinity has gotten in the way of student safety. Even Robbins, who said he’s been mugged once before, has never used the walking escort program.
Crimes against students don’t usually happen because of gender, Garcia said. All students, no matter how they identify, would be equally protected by a walking escort.
Garcia added that if male or female students feel uncomfortable being seen with a walking escort, they can ask the bike cop to “shadow” them, meaning the officer will walk several paces behind them, still ensuring their safety without walking right next to them.
We hope male students can prioritize their safety over the expectations of their gender. Especially now, as it gets darker earlier due to daylight saving time, we encourage students to take advantage of existing programs meant to keep them safe.