Senate, Common Council propose extension of shuttle bus hours for bar time crowd

The Student Senate and the Platteville Common Council are seeking a new way to help students get back to campus safely after bars close.

The plan calls for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville shuttle system to pick up students on Second Street at 2 a.m., a time when Second Street is flooded with students walking and driving back to campus after partying at the bars.  Both the Student Senate and the Common Council hope this will reduce the amount of crime at night and promote safety.

Students responded positively to an e-mail sent out last week from the Student Senate asking how they felt about the proposal.  Senior business administration major and Student Senate Vice President Jordan Miller said the Senate received 40 e-mails from students stating they would use the shuttle service at night if they could.

“The Senate’s primarily concerned about safety, and a shuttle ride after bar close would help limit the number of women walking home at night alone, often intoxicated,” Miller said.

Other colleges use a similar system to ensure their students’ safety.  Senior occupational safety management major and Diversity Director Justin Smoot has seen the positive side of this type of shuttle service at Western Illinois University.  This works particularly well in small towns where students often out number the police officers available to help them if something went wrong, Smoot said.

UW-Platteville professor and Platteville Common Council president Mike Dalecki said he supports the shuttle proposal from both a university standpoint and as a council member.

“If we can prevent even one student from driving drunk, it is worth it,” Dalecki said.

“The shuttle could leapfrog the students over residential areas, and we would have fewer disruptions and fewer disorderly conduct tickets for students,” Dalecki said.  “It is about being proactive not reactive.”

Some opponents of the proposal fear it will promote drinking on campus, but most agree the benefits outweigh the risks.

“We know students are drinking,” Special Assistant in Administrative Services Christina Curras said.  “I think it would promote safety.  It is a fine line, and I don’t think there is a correct answer.”

The fees for the shuttle service currently come out of students’ segregated fees.  The new shuttle proposal would not raise students’ fees.  The shuttle would cut back on unused daytime hours to cover the added hours at night.