After originally deciding to eliminate a program that funds limited free cab rides to students late at night, a branch of University of Wisconsin’s student government voted to refund SAFECab in a meeting Thursday night.
The Student Services Finance Committee’s reversal comes after a surge of UW students emailed SSFC representatives expressing their disapproval of the board’s original decision. SSFC Vice Chair Chase Wilson said the committee has received more feedback from students on the issue than they have for anything else this year.
The committee’s decision, however, will not impact UW Transportation Service’s decision to no longer administer the service. In a letter to Student Transportation Board, Director Patrick Kass said that even if SAFECab is restored, Trasnportation Services will no longer manage the program after June 30.
According to a statement released by Rep. Laura Checovich, SSFC originally cut the program over serious concerns about administrative problems such as students being denied rides and operators with inefficient knowledge about SAFE policy.
Checovich said Transportation Services has made it very clear that they do not care whether or not the program exists.
SSFC members said they recognize the need for the program and will be discussing several options to provide the service, which could mean contracting with an outside administrator for the service.
“If Transportation won’t do it we have to be prepared to take over,” SSFC Rep. Cale Plammann said. “I don’t want to be in a position where we are dealing with emotions instead of logic.”
Checovich said she still encourages students to voice their concerns and send in their letters to SSFC, which the committee will then forward to Transportation Services and Vice Chancellor Darrell Bazzell.
Also addressed Thursday night was a discussion of the Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group contract eligibility. Incoming Chair Tess Keegan, who has worked as a reporter for The Badger Herald, represented the group.
“WISPIRG is a means for students to fulfill the Wisconsin experience,” Keegan said. “It aims to solve social problems by educating, empowering and mobilizing students.”
WISPIRG chair Matt Kozlowski, spoke to committee members on the importance of maintaining the exclusive services that the organization provides.
“The service is not currently being provided by the university or some other department,” Kozolowski said.
While some other outlets may provide some of the services that WISPIRG administers, they do not amount to the total number of services supplied by WISPIRG nor are they executed with as much focus and expertise, he added.
Kozolowski also said that not only does WISPIRG provide incomparable student services they also are fiscally responsible, referring to the organizations cost sharing model. By pooling resources he said they get “100 percent of the benefits for a fraction of the price.”
SSFC Rep. Dan Posca made a motion to table a decision on WISPIRG’s contract eligibility to allot committee members more time to become more informed and familiar with the issue.
Kozolowski said without the contract the group would not be able to provide the services it currently does now.
SSFC will make a decision on WISPIRG’s contract eligibility on Monday night during its next meeting.