While it’s probably true that getting through four years without needing personal help from Campus Patrol would be ideal, having an experience with Campus Patrol isn’t the catastrophe many students think it is.
“You are probably reading this because you are on Patrol, in which case congrats—it’s one of the greatest jobs to have here at VC,” Senior Supervisor Gram Hill’s ’14 Campus Patrol bio reads as humorous as it is factual. Many students at Vassar may not know the depth of Campus Patrol’s role on campus.
Of the student-run groups on campus, the one that acts most closely between students and the administration is Campus Patrol. Patrol works alongside the Offices of Safety & Security and Residential Life, while the Evening Supervisor serves as a liaison between Patrol and the Campus Response Center (CRC.)
Campus Patrol is a form of student-to-student conflict resolution that acts as another set of eyes for security. Patrol is primarily run by seven student supervisors, “senior supes,” who have worked their way up through the ranks of campus patrolling since the beginning of their freshman year. For senior supe Hunter Furnish ’14, Campus Patrol’s student aspect is an important distinction. “Even while working with ResLife, it remains students who supervise students, giving the job a young, fun atmosphere,” he wrote in his Campus Patrol bio.
Despite the presence of student workers, Patrol retains a bad reputation among students. Evening Supervisor Tom Racek ‘18 is acutely aware of the divide between how students perceive patrol and its true purpose.
Racek reflected, “The advantage of Campus Patrol is that the students who work for us know what it feels like or know someone who has been in a bad situation and in those situations they will have better judgment and will also act out of empathy.”
Campus Patrol is now in the process of shifting to oversight from the Office of Residential Life rather than Security. Patrol’s focus on ensuring the health and well-being of the student body mirrors the intentions of other roles within the Office of Residential Life. Mark Derasmo ’16 is the link between the students and staff of Res Life and Security.
“I went from patroller to mobile patroller to trainer,” Derasmo explained. “Finally, I was promoted to supervisor over the course of my junior year because I expressed interest and was known for writing thorough reports. I am responsible for communicating patrol’s role and services to the student body.” Derasmo, along with Eric Santacruz ’16, has weekly discussions with representatives of Residential Life and Security.
The more well-known organization for helping students in emergency situations is Vassar Emergency Medical Service (EMS). EMS’s job is to respond to calls, while Campus Patrol’s is to look out for situations that could potentially lead to an EMS call. The link between Patrol and EMS often comes from Patrol informing security of medical distress situations that are then turned over to EMS.
As the eyes and ears of campus, Campus Patrol witnesses a lot more than most people. Each of the supervisors on Campus Patrol has plenty of stories about situations they’ve had to take care of.
As senior supe Graham Weston ’15 said, “The best thing about being a part of campus patrol is how engaging the job is. One night might be relatively uneventful while the next has you dealing with animals that have broken into dorms, restricted basement areas that have been opened or dealing with the chaos of a late night fire alarm.” Supervisor Emmanuel Ntow ’17 remembered a time his freshman year when he ran into a middle-aged man in Strong while on his shift. “He talked about looking for a screening of ‘Braveheart,’” Ntow recalled. “I called the Evening Supervisor first to report this and they told me to call Security to ask where this screening might be if it even existed. Security told me they had no records of such a screening, especially one that would be going on so late at night.”
Ntow was left to deal with the man at his discretion. “I then decided to let him know that he was in the wrong place and escorted him towards security,” he said. “While on the way he spoke about being a part-time student and believing that one of the Political Science professors was a Communist.”
Sometimes the situation calls for a more formal response. Racek remembers a time when he heard a loud noise as if something had fallen. When he entered the hallway he found a student on the floor. He wasn’t on duty at the time, but as a patroller he knew what to do.
“I responded by comforting the individual, monitoring his breathing and making sure that his airway was clear,” Racek said. “A patroller arrived on location shortly after and I used his radio to call in the medical distress to the evening supervisor.”
Racek went on, “Had someone found the individual later or Patrol not had performed the round…the situation would have been a lot more dire.” Campus Patrol plays another important role that many students don’t realize exists. Patrollers’ main goal is to prevent accidents before they even happen. Walking students across campus late at night is one way that they do this.
Racek summed up his and other Patrollers’ main prerogative: “We don’t walk around the house looking for people doing the wrong things, but rather for students in need of help.”