| 03.17.2018

Don”t enable bad behavior: Vandal Shuttle will be an inefficient use of university funding


Let me be the first to say that safety is important, especially on a college campus.

Thankfully, Moscow is a pretty safe town. Even as a small female, I feel relatively safe walking alone at night. But there are bad people everywhere, and preventative safety measures should be taken.

Vandal Shuttle is not a measure that works.

Tess Fox Argonaut

Tess Fox

ASUI President-elect Austin Karstetter ran on several platforms, one of which was the institution of the Vandal Shuttle program. It is a weekend bus that stops at a few places in Moscow to help students get around.

Between the medical amnesty bill passed this year and this shuttle, ASUI seems to be sending a message that getting drunk and being reckless is OK, because there are a million ways to not get in trouble. Even if this message is unintentional by senators, that doesn”t teach students to be responsible.

The medical amnesty bill is great. It will likely have an amazing effect on the number of students who seek help for their friends and could possibly have a direct positive impact on the number of student deaths.

When a student makes the decision to consume alcohol, they should do it in a safe environment. If it”s outside their home, they should arrange a ride or crash on a couch. If they”re walking home, they should bring a coat and gloves. Sometimes attending evening social events requires some planning, something students seem unwilling to do.

Thinking ahead has saved my butt several times. Gloves make a huge difference when walking around in December.

There”s a line between enabling bad behavior and providing options for students in a pickle.

Aside from this, there are some other serious flaws with the shuttle program.

If it”s aimed at students who need a late-night ride, why does the shuttle start at 5 p.m.? I”m not old enough to go to the bars, but I think it”s safe to say that most people don”t go at 5 p.m. It”s not late afternoons that are unsafe, it”s night time. It would make more sense to start the shuttle between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.  

The four hours between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. seem like a waste of time for the drivers and a waste of money for students. If the funds are going to be relocated, there should be a substantial number of students using the service to justify a need.

The Vandal Shuttle program seems especially obsolete considering that Karstetter wants to cut the New York Times subscription on campus. The reason that I don”t pay for a Times subscription online is because I have access to a paper every day on campus.

The thought that students don”t read the newspapers is false. I pick one up every day and skim through it during my breaks, or as a relaxing evening activity. Many times, I have to hunt for one because the bins are empty, which is a sign that people are taking the papers.

Sure, I can get a discounted subscription to the Times online for being a student. But even at a discount, I”ve already paid for my print copy through student fees.

Students would still have free online access to the Times, but nothing really beats the hard copy of such a classic. Call me old-fashioned, but I like touching newsprint. I grew up reading the newspaper on the living room floor, and nothing makes me more nostalgic than that smell. Accessing the news instantly on my phone is great, but if I”m going to drink tea and catch up on world news, my fingers better be slightly grey with newsprint ink afterwards.

The Times is great for art projects. My art classes this semester have assigned several collage projects. Where was the first place I looked for materials? The New York Times bins in the Idaho Commons. Why go out and buy magazines when I could pick up a Times, located near the art building and already paid for by my student fees?

Maybe instead of making the shuttle completely free, students pay between $1 and $5. This would eliminate the need to cut other deserving programs and maybe the shuttle would bring in revenue eventually.

ASUI should not be supporting students” thoughtless decisions. In the real world, there is no safety net. There are no free shuttles waiting strategically for a ride home.

Yes, this is college and it”s not quite the real world yet. But students should learn how to make good decisions, even if it”s the hard way. ASUI should provide students with the resources to make responsible decisions and learn what do when they mess up, not enable unsafe behavior.

Tess Fox can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @tesstakesphotos

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1 comment
  1. Unfortunately this will fall on deaf ears, largely because Vandals always get highly irrational and angry when one tries to address the nasty and inebriated culture there on UI campus.
    Only when this reality is faced will there be any kind of progress. To fix a problem you first have to admit that there IS a problem.