Campus Patrol started sometime in the early 1970s, after Vassar became coed in 1969. In its early years,
Patrol was a markedly different organization from the one which it is today. Women, for example, were not
permitted to join until a group of feminists, angry about the organization's discriminatory hiring policy, planned
to attack an on-duty patroller; their intention was to show that men were as vulnerable to assaults as women.
The attack never took place, but when the college's administration found out about the plans, it reversed the
rules about Patrol not hiring women--a decision which blessed Campus Patrol with many of its best patrollers,
Supervisors, and Head Supervisors.
Campus Patrol officially became a student-run organization in 1978 when it got its first Head Supervisor,
a man by the name of Klaus D. Russelhuber. One of the first things Klaus did was to change the organization's
name from "Student Patrol" to "Campus Patrol"; he wanted people to think of Patrol as a group of professionals,
not merely as "students." But the Patrol that he presided over was still not up to the level which it is today.
Patrollers in those days were poorly equipped and not expected to do much more than sit in booths scattered
around campus, doing their homework. They carried heavy but unreliable radios which broadcast only over
short distances with little clarity. One of the booths, located at the southern tip of the campus, was so distant
that it was equipped with a telephone that patrollers used to call Security if a problem arose; Patrol radios
were too weak to be received from the booth's distant location. While seemingly ridiculous to patrollers today,
having a telephone in the booth made more sense back then, when a patroller was only required to walk
around his or her post for twenty minutes out of every hour.
When Liz Rogers became Head Supervisor in 1990, she put some of the finishing touches on moves toward
making Patrol into the truly professional organization that it has become. Her policies were in the vein of
other Head Supervisors who worked to revamp the organization, beginning with David Allison in 1983-84,
and his immensely popular and dynamic successor, Jonathan Lorde-Rollins (who was, incidentally, son of the
feminist poet Audre Lorde, in addition to being the first African-American Head Supervisor). Liz increased the
amount of time that patrollers were required to spend walking their posts to forty minutes out of every hour,
and at the same time, obtained a pay raise for patrollers; in doing so, Liz made them the best paid of all
students employed by Vassar College. Patrol's numbers swelled, and under strict enforcement of Liz's new
policies, it became the model that we follow even today.
Patrol isn't what it used to be. We now perform our previous duties inside of the dorms and help in student-
student conflict. We carry the same radios which Vassar's professional security guards do; they are lightweight,
powerful, reliable (and unfortunately, expensive as well). Patrollers tend to take their jobs very seriously, and
many take pride in the fact that Patrol is an almost entirely student-run organization--not to mention the fact
that they can make more money patrolling than they could with any other campus job. Working for Vassar
College Campus Patrol demands a level of professionalism which many people don't think college students are
capable of. But the rewards of the job, both financial and personal, makes it easy to prove such skeptics wrong
every time we grab a radio.