Response to Midnight Express cancellation
Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Dear Observer reader (chaotic good), University President Fr. John Jenkins, Interim Saint Mary’s President Nancy Nekvasil, Notre Dame Student Government, Saint Mary’s Student Government and anyone who was responsible for this egregious decision,
Understanding the fundamental disconnect between the members of the administration and the student body is crucial in the discussion surrounding public transportation. This decision to cancel the Midnight Express and Saturday service was made without consulting the persons directly affected by any change to the weekly schedule. The needs of students with disabilities, student workers, victims of assault and low-income students often go ignored by the administration (and to a lesser extent, the members of student government). The cancellation of all service on Saturday puts students at risk for harassment or assault.
In addition to putting students at risk, this decision separates the blending of the tri-campus community. Students of all three schools often interact with each other through band, ROTC, club sports and clubs, and the cancellation of Saturday service essentially limits students’ accessibility to these resources. Holy Cross, as you may know, was not consulted in the decision to end the bus — what does this say about how the schools feel about inclusion? The student governments of both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s are effectively telling the student body, “If you do not have a car, tough luck.”
As for the “solutions” of Blinkie, SafeBouND and calling the Notre Dame Police Department: Blinkie is not wheelchair-accessible and only goes to one location, getting in a golf cart with a stranger seems suspicious and we know police can be oblivious to violence or even violent themselves. As for ride sharing apps, that’s way too expensive for working-class students. These solutions are not comparable to the public good a bus brings.
This petition serves two purposes: To put pressure on the administration and to encourage the student body to ask questions of the student government and administration. Ask why the budget was not modified to pay for a necessity, ask why Blinkie is not wheelchair-accessible, ask why Saint Mary’s does not have the funds to get a vehicle that is wheelchair-accessible, ask why a “Catholic” university ignores the needs of low-income students and finally, ask why they have yet to come up with a real solution after two months.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.