Kiddies' crossing guard to shepherd students at college

February 04, 1993|By Newsday

OAKDALE, N.Y. -- If Adelphi University compares itself to Harvard in advertising, perhaps Dowling College should consider billing itself as Long Island's answer to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Beginning Monday, the Oakdale college started using a Suffolk County crossing guard -- normally a protector of younger school children -- to help the college's 5,000 students cross what the college says is a dangerous street during the college's two-week spring registration.

Suffolk County police officials say it is the first time a county crossing guard has been requested by a local institution of higher learning. Police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Fallon joked, "I guess SAT scores are going down."

Another official, Republican state legislator Joseph Rizzo of Islip, N.Y., said, "It makes you wonder if the kids are ready for college if they need a crossing guard."

College officials referred calls on the issue to the New York public relations firm of Howard Rubenstein Associates, which represents the college. Gary Lewi, the college's spokesman, dismissed any jokes or cheap shots at the school's expense.

"This is not a public relations issue," he said. "It's a safety issue."

While no students have been run over, Mr. Lewi said there have been 12 car accidents in the past year on Idle Hour Boulevard, the main road in a five-way intersection at the center of campus. He said the crossing guard is one of several steps, including shuttle buses, being taken to protect not only students but also area residents and local drivers.

The college is paying the county the estimated $490 guard cost.

Neighbors say the college has caused the problem by overcrowding. Islip officials are suing to get enrollment lowered to 1,700.

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