ASMSU Safe Ride Initiative passes, will run pilot program
ASMSU’s Safe Ride Initiative is finally coming to fruition after passing through the ASMSU General Assembly. ASMSU will run a six-week pilot program starting on March 20.
As previously reported by , the initiative was initially brought up in the 49th session of ASMSU. After a long series of reworking, the initiative was brought to the Finance Committee with a plan for a pilot. The bill allocating funds for the pilot program passed through the Finance Committee, and was sent onward to the General Assembly to formally allocate the funds.
Since they weren’t able to vote , ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca and Vice President for Internal Administration Katherine Rifiotis called for a special GA meeting following the Policy Committee meeting on Feb. 23.
During public comment, psychology senior Sage Morse spoke about why she wanted Safe Ride to be passed. Morse talked about when she first began her job at Sparty’s and had trouble taking later shifts because she was anxious about getting back to her home late at night.
“When I was just a level one barista, I was getting a lot of midnight shifts and I live off campus,” Morse said. “I would have to give up about 10 hours a week because I couldn’t safely get home from those shifts.”
Some students might think to take the bus, but Morse said she did not feel safe waiting outside late at night for a bus.
“I didn’t feel safe waiting for the bus, so I had to go to Sparty’s and be like, ‘I can’t work a midnight shift, I can’t be on campus that late, it’s not safe for me,’” Morse said.
Following public comment, the GA went into debating the bill. The debate opened up with an impassioned speech from Vice President for Finance and Operations Jason Barnett, who has been heading the Safe Ride Initiative.
“We’ve done our due diligence on this program and I am confident that whatever is to be implemented will certainly be a success,” Barnett said. “A program like Safe Ride cannot come at a better time for our campus climate.”
Barnett went on to explain how important he believes this bill is to the students of MSU and said the program would benefit a large number of people.
“There are thousands of students who do not have access to safe transportation at night,” Barnett said. “Either they don’t own a car, they don’t have funds for an Uber or taxi, or the buses are not going in the same direction they’re trying to go.”
Following Barnett’s speech, there was a long session of debate about the necessity of the bill, the cost of the bill and several other items. After many GA members told their personal stories and explained why they see the initiative as important, the bill passed on a 32-3 vote. A big topic of discussion was what follows the pilot program this March. The answer comes in two parts.
First of all, students will get a chance this April to vote on whether they want to implement a $2 tax to fund Safe Ride in addition to the tax they already pay to ASMSU.
Second, the program would expand next academic year to every night of the week from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
The Safe Ride Pilot program begins in about a month, and once it does begin, there will be a lot of attention on whether the program was worth the long wait.