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DISSENT

Daytime SafeRide Useful, Inexpensive

By Ken Nesmith, Jonathan Wang, and Jeremy Baskin

dissenting

After enough discussion to settle a small international dispute, students and administrators have agreed on a daytime SafeRide shuttle that will run across the Harvard Bridge in the winter months. Service will begin as soon as the weather becomes unpleasant, and if this spring’s experience is any indication of our luck with the weather, we should prepare for snowstorms in September.

This shuttle plan is useful, efficient, and inexpensive. Students living in or otherwise frequenting Boston will be quite grateful for the shuttle. Even the most dedicated bridgewalkers will appreciate the option of zipping to campus quickly and conveniently whenever they need to do so, without juggling schedules, passes, and fares for unreliable, crowded buses. As MIT moves forward with arbitrary housing restrictions that will continue to strangle the organic FSILG community in order to artificially synthesize an on-campus version of the same, this bit of support is encouraging to Boston residents.

The cost of the shuttle will be just $30,000 to $35,000 per year. The FSILG office, an office whose purpose is to serve fraternities, sororities, and ILGs, most located in Boston, will pay $30,000 of the bill. The transportation office will cover any remaining cost. In the student life budget, or for that matter in almost any MIT budget, this expenditure is not peanuts, it’s peanut crumbs. Surely readers can themselves recall any number of slightly shammy community building events much more expensive than this worthwhile student life expenditure. Last year’s Infinite Buffet, a $70,000 brunch, comes to mind, as does Spring Weekend, another spending splurge costing somewhere near $100,000. A group of MIT students recently won themselves funding to travel to Washington D.C. to protest at the Supreme Court for a day; other clumps of several thousand dollars slip away to similarly questionable causes.

MIT expenditures often seem arbitrary, politically motivated, or misplaced in their purpose. This, however, is the nature of the collegiate spending structure, which puts huge amounts of money in the hands of a few administrators and asks them to distribute it as they see fit -- and as sufficiently convincing student groups can argue is needed. If we accept that MIT is going to spend lots of money on these sorts of bread and circus affairs, we can be thankful that this time, the Institute is making a useful, relatively inexpensive investment that will have a constant and significantly positive impact on student life.