We need safe and affordable rides

Staff Editorial

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As college students, we rarely think of a night out as a life or death situation.

But all too regularly, we are proven wrong, most recently by the death of first-year Connor Gage, in an incident the Burlington Police Department attributes in part to freezing overnight temperatures, according to an email sent by Annie Stevens, vice provost for student affairs.

Coupled with assaults, four of which occurred during the first two weeks of December 2018, and suspicious activity on or around UVM’s campus sent by UVM police services, such events illustrate the need for greater resources for students returning home at night.

SGA has proposed the Safe Ride Home program, which would provide students free rides home within a four-mile radius, paid for by a small student fee at the start of the semester.

The program, which is spearheaded by student groups and funded by an online petition, allows students the convenience of an Uber without the negatives that may make students hesitate.

When every penny counts — as is the case for many college students — the cost of an Uber can be daunting.

On top of that, an Uber forces passengers into a car with a stranger and can therefore offer only so much security. UVM’s program has the potential to put drivers through a more rigorous process of approval.

SGA’s program can forgo the potentially lethal hesitations that come with ordering from ride sharing apps in order to ensure students make decisions on account of their safety, not their wallet.

Though it may seem like coddling to expect the University to keep students who chose to go out safe, it is unrealistic to expect people to stay inside, despite weather warnings and their best judgement.

Given the regularity with which students find themselves victims over the course of a walk home, the University ought to take some responsibility for the safety of their students.

Safe Ride Home could be the first step toward the University providing the safety its students require.

Staff editorials officially reflect the views of the Vermont Cynic. Signed opinion pieces and columns do not necessarily do so.

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