Letter to the Editor: A student’s proposal for Ibis Ride safety

As a sophomore at the University of Miami, and substance free Resident Assistant at Stanford Residential College, I am one of many students committed to our alma mater and its policies and principles, and I am disappointed by the attitudes of some of our few, but constantly disrespectful, peers.

Because of the recent cancellation of the Ibis Safe Ride I have been brainstorming non-stop, trying to figure out what would be the accurate, all-solving way to go about things.

I recently spoke to my boss, Residence Coordinator Liesel Winchester over the idea of having a police escort on the bus in order to promote more of a users’ respectful poise. Speaking to her I understood that perhaps this would be too much of a financial cost and concentration of resources that neither UM nor the  Coral Gables Police Department can actually afford, plus it’s our ride: shouldn’t we be the ones taking care of it?

But nobody seems to respect the Student Government volunteers and things are getting out of control.  As an RA for mostly freshman students I can’t stand by and watch while my residents lose the opportunity to go out and explore substance-free, healthy, and cultural alternatives, just because some students continue to act foolishly. And as somebody mentioned in a letter to the editor of The Miami Hurricane, I don’t want to think about the possibilities of drunk drivers from now on.

So although I agree with putting an end to this madness, I don’t agree with the entire student body being punished and NOBODY being accurately and fairly held responsible.

So I came up with a possible alternative that I hope you will review.

I think we should have a Transportation Security Assistant. A mix between the current Student Government volunteers, an RA, and a Security Assistant all in one. I think whoever is in charge of “hosting” the Safe Ride should also have the power AND knowledge to enforce university policies. After all, isn’t the Ibis Ride university property?

I think this person should be in charge and able to report incidents and attend to ‘noise violations’, just like RAs do, and “write people up” (as students like to say) when things get out of control, as well as ensure police intervention if there are any alcohol or drug violations on board.

I think that in order for students to recognize that the Safe Ride is something that should be respected and appreciated, and that they should be grateful for, we first have to teach them that this incredibly handy service is NOT a toy or playing field, and that there are actual rules that have actual consequences.

I think programs and organizations like Pier21 and the Honor Council should get involved in this, and that their volunteers as well as current residential staff should be the first to work the Transportation Security Assistant role, and that this should be a position with an hourly wage. I’m sure these programs and organizations can ensure some of the funds for this, as well as Student Government, and that this would be a more successful approach to things.

I’ve seen over the last two years how the Safe Ride gets canceled on and off and students are given a slight ‘scare’ every once in a while, but nothing SOLVES the issue. Students need to be made aware that even though the ride is there for their safety (hopefully avoiding possibilities of drunk driving) they can’t approach it as a “drunk bus” (as I’ve heard it being called), and they can’t be loud, obnoxious, and disrespectful.

So enforce the policies. Don’t just take the “toy” away,while the spoiled brat continues to complain in the corner. Teach the kids that it’s not a toy to begin with, give it back, and have them all grow up, finally.

I honestly believe that if taking it away and talking to Student Government about it, and having a few articles written about it, and having some flyers put up, is all you’re going to do, by the time next spring comes around we’ll be having the same issue. Give it back but change the standards. Teach us how to be respectful, safe, and proper users. We have student rights AND responsibilities. But don’t punish everyone for it; target the actual issues.

I’d be more than happy to head up the Transportation Security Assistants team, if necessary, and even train some people. And I’m sure you will find a lot of support for this proposal from our student body as I am sure I’m not the only one that’s starting to feel a little sick and tired. I think we all have to team up and work this through.

-Irene Daboin