“It’ll be like five or six guys (calling for SURE Walk) that are trying to go to a frat party … and some of them may be intoxicated or under the influence,” said Godson Onyediri, a biology junior and current SURE Walk employee.
When students exploit SURE Walk’s services, they can endanger other students on campus. SURE Walk’s sole purpose is to provide transportation for UT students to their residence in a safe and timely manner in order to combat the risk of assault on and off campus. Its services are free of charge and available Monday through Sunday until 2 a.m. SURE Walk provides students with a beneficial and essential resource that ensures safety throughout UT’s campus. However, students must refrain from using this resource for reasons unrelated to personal safety, as it leads to long waits for SURE Walk rides. This puts other students who may be in unsafe environments at risk because they are unable to obtain a ride quickly.
“There’s a couple times every night that some students will take advantage of us,” said Daniel Martinez III, a biology junior and current SURE Walk student employee. “(Students) just want an easy way home and not because they feel unsafe.”
Sure, UT students spend countless hours on campus studying, fulfilling various extracurricular commitments and attending daily lectures, so I can understand the urge to call free transportation to avoid burdensome walks to their dorms or apartments. In other cases, students may get home, realize they’re short on food and contact SURE Walk for a ride to a food spot on campus.
Students may believe these reasons to use SURE Walk are valid but must understand that they are not only misusing this resource — they’re also taking a ride away from a UT student who could be in an unsafe environment. SURE Walk does what it can to accommodate students who legitimately need its services, but they only have so many seats.
“SURE Walk vehicles are limited to vehicle capacity, including available seats and seatbelts,” said Blanca Gamez, associate director of Parking and Transportation Services. “If a cart only has two rider seats, then only two riders will be allowed to travel at that time.”
SURE Walk prioritizes reducing cases of assault on campus with their services. SURE Walk formerly stood for the Students United for Rape Elimination. As displayed in its former name, SURE Walk’s intent is clear and concise, and all students across campus should value its mantra.
Students should instead rely on UT Night Rides, a partnership between Lyft and UT’s Parking and Transportation Services, for all trips relating to convenience.
“(SURE Walk) has taken precautions (to be aware) of some individuals who do take advantage … (some students) are on a watch list,” Martinez said.
SURE Walk continuously implements new rules in hopes of cracking down on students who are not using the program for its sole purpose. However, students must take the initiative themselves to use UT Night Rides or other transportation options in order to improve accessibility for students who are more at risk.
West Jr. is a journalism sophomore from New Orleans, Louisiana.