Will Robertson / The Daily Gamecock

Bars pledge to get patrons home 'Safe and Sound'

Many Five Points bars have pledged to get patrons to their cars safely following Samantha Josephson's death after getting into what she thought was her Uber last month.

According to an April 6 Facebook post by Group Therapy’s owner Steve Taneyhill, at least 12 bars have signed a pledge for their bouncers to walk patrons to their rides for the first hour after bars close.

Group Therapy, CJ’s, Five Points Saloon, Moosehead Saloon, Cover 3, Salty Nut Cafe, Lucky's of Columbia, Latitude 22, Time Out Pub and Grill, The Thirsty Parrot, Bar None and The Loose Cockaboose have signed the Safe and Sound pledge, according to the post.

Some bouncers, such as Jay Jones, head bouncer at Moosehead Saloon and Latitude 22, believe bouncers have always been there to help, but now it is more official. 

“We want to make sure [patrons] are safe while they’re here and make sure they’re safe when they leave here,” Jones said. “We’re not just leaving you out on the sidewalk.”

Haley Williamson, a bartender at Group Therapy, said she has already seen the bouncers enforce this program.

“They already take it serious,” Williamson said. “You just have to know to ask for help.” 

However, no student interviewed was aware of this new safety measure.

Despite not previously knowing about the program, students had mixed reactions to the effectiveness of the Safe and Sound program.

“I think the bouncers are a huge key in keeping everyone safe,” Blake Nelson, second-year economics student, said. “It’s kinda their job.” 

David Wieck, a second-year finance student, does not believe the Safe and Sound pledge is necessary because of the other safety measures in place, such as the Five Points shuttle and designated pickup zones.

“I don’t think it’s their job to do that,” Wieck said. “I don’t think bouncers walking them to the car would help.” 

Some students see flaws in the Safe and Sound program, such as the program not starting before bars close. 

“It’s smart, but at the same time there’s a number of people who don’t stay until 2, 3 a.m. and still want this safety measure,” said Jenna Kelleher, second-year exercise science student. 

Some bouncers and students said they believe starting the program sooner could cause some disarray, as the bouncers would have to leave the bars unattended. 

The pledge says the Safe and Sound program will work in conjunction with other safety measures in the area.

The Five Points shuttles, which run Thursday through Saturday nights and stop at both on-campus and off-campus locations, have been a resource for students for some time. Students who take advantage of the free rides said they think the shuttles are a great system. 

“We feel really secure here,” Elizabeth Bowie, first-year political science student, said. “[Shuttle coordinator] Earl always makes sure that he gets us on the bus and gets us home.” 

Uber has also partnered with USC to create a safe pickup zone in the same location as the shuttles at 2100 Santee Ave. This pickup zone is monitored by police. 

The Safe and Sound pledge comes at the same time as the new safety measures on the Uber app and the "What's My Name?" campaign. Those involved with programs hope to keep what happened to Josephson from happening again.

“When tragedy strikes it is imperative that we not only come together as a community to grieve and mourn, but also enact meaningful change,” the Safe and Sound pledge Facebook post said.

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