Student Senate discusses fate of SMU Rides service
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 00:02
Discussions of change in one popular campus service dominated the agenda during Student Senate’s two hour meeting in the Hughes-Trigg Forum Tuesday.
The meeting began with SMU’s Executive Director of Student Affairs, Troy Behrens, encouraging Senators to address the need for change in the SMU Rides service.
SMU Rides, operated by Park n Pony, provides students with free cab rides back to campus. There is a $5,000 budget for the program each year, but ridership increased exponentially this year.
Only 134 rides were given to students in the Spring 2012 semester, as opposed to the 4,989 rides given last semester.
This has resulted in a $42,000 bill for SMU.
Behrens said this spike could be a cause of the way SMU Rides was presented to freshmen, who account for over 95 percent of rides.
“During most AARO sessions, SMU Rides was mentioned, but not that it was intended for emergencies. It was marketed as a convenience program,” Behrens said.
Over $100,000 in funding would need to be found in order to keep SMU Rides operating as it currently does. One alternative would be to start charging students’ accounts for cab fare, using their SMU IDs.
Some senators raised concerns about how this would make SMU Rides different from any other cab system, and support eliminating the program entirely.
Student Senate will further debate this proposition and come to a resolution at next week’s meeting.
Diversity Chair Kimberly Elmazi encouraged her fellow Senate members to start creating interest in SMU Diversity Week, which will occur April 1-6.
Six events are currently planned, three of which will take place at the flagpole.
Elmazi hopes the central location will help draw interest from many students.
“It’s not just a multicultural or an ethnic thing,” Elmazi said. “We’re trying to reach a broad spectrum of students and promote a stronger sense of community on campus.”
President Alex Mace also updated the Senate on how students have perceived his letter regarding the recent fraternity assault. He first read the letter at Student Senate’s meeting last week before it was published in The Daily Campus.
“I can’t tell you how encouraged I am with the way the piece was received. It doesn’t matter who wrote it. It’s a sentiment that’s shared throughout campus,” Mace said.
Mace concluded his address by stressing the need to find a forum where conversations about such campus issues can