To the Editors:
I believe that my friend should be able to have a car on campus, and his side of the story is not being adequately heard.
He currently holds a job off campus as a hockey instructor that he must walk a half hour to on Saturday mornings, for a shift that begins at 8:30 a.m. Despite what was communicated to my friend via the oversight, there is no StagBus that runs at this hour on the weekend (it begins at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday).
A student who is attempting to balance school and employment should have the convenience of a car, especially if said student has proven to be responsible and is in good academic standing. My friend and I do not drink, and find ourselves in the statistical minority by a good percentage. I, of course, acknowledge that there is no way or reason the University could just “take his word for it,” but the absence of write-ups/transports should speak to his responsibility, and silence any worries about a propensity to driving under the influence. I do not use those words lightly, as one of my family members was a passenger in a fatal drunk-driving accident, but I believe his character speaks for itself.
My friend is by no means in dire financial straits, to the point where he worries where his next meal will come from, but nonetheless I am certain there are students who are paying much, if not all, of their way through school. To discourage them from working, because of a slippery slope objection to them having a car, could be a dangerous standard when there are students who have found off-campus employment.
To be sure, there is no law against walking or calling a taxi to go to and from work. Also, on-campus jobs do exist in the form of work studies and the like. However, in sleet and snow, walking is all but obsolete and a taxi service can begin to become more expensive per mile than the gas one would fill his or her own car with, otherwise taxis would make no profit. On-campus jobs do certainly exist, as well as work-studies. But the notion of “no employment exemptions: period” is a bit of a narrow lens to look through at an often complicated situation.
I understand the University’s stance on this issue is coming from a place of good faith and prudence, but I would ask that the details of his case be reexamined in a different light. Having mental and physical disabilities as the only exemptions granted without committee debate is a perhaps limited standard.