Nova Scotia

Dalhousie axes student walk home program

Nova Scotia's largest university is ending its safe walk home service for students.

Nova Scotia's largest university is ending its safe walk home service for students.

For years, Dalhousie University in Halifax has driven students home in a van called Tiger Patrol, and offered a service to walk students around campus. The van will continue, but the walking service won't.

The Dalhousie Student Union, which helped run the service, says the people who did the safe walks rarely got called out.

"The drive home service was used a hundred times more than the walk home service was," Chris Saulnier, union president, said Tuesday.

Mike Burns, Dalhousie's director of security, said the program was cut for budget reasons: it cost the university about $75,000 to run the service for an academic year.

Last year, there were 40 to 50 calls for the walk home service, while there were 8,000 for the drive home service.

Burns said there's a possibility the walking service could continue with volunteers.

"That's something that if the demand is there we could explore, but right now it's just the demand didn't justify the continuation of the program," he said.

Instead, the Tiger Patrol van will make its rounds for an extra hour until 2 a.m.

Some students say they believe there should be a walk home service available, but the lack of one won't change much about the way they move around campus in the evenings.  

"I have this theory if you walk straight and you look like you know where you're going, and you're confident in yourself, nothing particularly bad is going to happen," one student said.

But one female student said the university sent out emails last year after three women were attacked while walking.

The University of King's College got rid of its safe walking program more than four years ago, because no one used it.

Saint Mary's University has a safe walk home program where students can ask a security guard or campus commissionaire to accompany them.