Safe Ride aims to uphold its mission to provide a free and reliable assault prevention shuttle service to students, faculty, and staff of the University of Oregon who would otherwise walk alone at night and risk possible assault. Safe Ride sees itself as an integral part of the network of transportation organizations on the UO campus. We aim towards helping to provide a safer environment for all by increasing public awareness of our services and the dangers of assault.
Though Safe Ride has only operated for a few years, its predecessors had deep roots in assault prevention at the university. Safe Ride is the result of a merger between Project Saferide and Nightride, two sister organizations dedicated to making campus a safer place.
In 1985, the student government conducted a survey that found an overwhelming majority of women did not feel safe walking alone at night. Project Saferide was then granted funding as a sexual assault prevention shuttle service for women, with the motto, “women helping women.” The shuttle excluded men because of their decreased risk for assault and to create a safe space for sexual assault survivors who might feel uncomfortable with a man in the van. Project Saferide believed that women were not allowed the same personal liberties as men because they could not go out at night and feel safe and Saferide worked to create that safety.
In 2000, the Oregon Office of Civil Rights ruled that Project Saferide was not compliant with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1978, which states that no program receiving federal funding may discriminate on the basis of sex. Project Saferide was then faced with the task of maintaining its safe space for women, while still serving the greater university.
In 2001, Project Saferide formed a sister organization: Nightride. Nightride was open to all students and was intended to reach other members of the campus community who are at an elevated risk for assault: students of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community members and international students.
In the Summer of 2003, the Federal Office of Civil Rights concluded that Project Saferide was non-compliant with Title IX, even with Nightride as a sister organization. The two organizations chose to join forces and continue delivering this necessary service.
Currently, Safe Ride operates four mini vans, providing an average of 60 people per night with safe transportation. The Safe Ride staff consists of 15 dispatchers (including two co-directors, two volunteer coordinators and an education coordinator) and a dedicated volunteer base of approximately 40 people.
In addition to the nightly shuttle service, Safe Ride is a member of the university’s Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, which participates in educational programming throughout the year.