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Senate discusses transport, meets with leaders

| Thursday, August 29, 2019

In its first meeting of the new academic year, Notre Dame’s student senate convened in the Lafortune Student Center and discussed a series of issues which arose over the summer.

One focus during the meeting was the South Bend Transpo’s Midnight Express, which was funded by Notre Dame but cancelled due to rising costs and falling usage among Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students.

Student body president Elizabeth Boyle proposed working with ridesharing companies like Lyft or Uber to provide safe transportation late at night between the campuses. She also mentioned Ohio State University had worked with Lyft to accomplish this goal.

“We’re hoping we will work in collaboration with Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s to create a program that will serve more students and be more efficient for all, and will meet all the needs that the Midnight Express did, but do it in a time that will reflect what students are looking for in 2019,” Boyle said.

Senators raised concerns about the cost of a partnership with one of these companies, finding a potential route and cleaning fee issues should a student vomit in a Lyft or Uber. Boyle said the senate will help outline the parameters for such a proposal involving Lyft or Uber. She said the plan would be much more cost effective and prior precedent with the Midnight Express would also be used to determine the program’s hours of service and where it would take students.

Boyle will be meeting with student leadership from Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s College this Friday to discuss the program and other possible solutions, she said.

The senators then turned their attention to a discussion with Club Coordination Council (CCC) chair Jordan Isner, a senior, who is scheduled to testify to the senate next week. Legislation passed in the previous academic year mandates the CCC meet with the student senate at least once per semester. 

In an email, Isner said he looks forward to speaking with the senate next week.

“I think it is important that the CCC is as transparent as possible with the rest of the Student Union,” he said in an email. “I know that other members of senate are as concerned as I am about clubs being underfunded, and I look forward to working with them on solutions, but it all starts with being transparent.”

At the end of the meeting, Student Union Board (SUB) executive director Eric Kim, a senior, announced SUB has several events and initiatives in the works, including providing free transportation, food and tickets to the Aug. 31 South Bend Cubs game, screening the film “Avengers Endgame” in coordination with the Student Activities Office and continuing to sell dorm memorabilia.

“We are not only trying to provide an increase of quantity of events but also quality of events,” Kim said after the meeting adjourned. “We want to provide many opportunities for students to create a culture of bondage and friendships, and one of SUB’s main goals every year is to provide events to relieve stress.”

The senate also passed bills to update language within the constitution and provide digital access to the constitution to all members of the senate. Furthermore, the senate is planning a meeting with associate vice president for residential life Heather Rakoczy Russell regarding the recently announced changes to ID card access to residential halls on campus. The date of this meeting has not yet been determined.

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