Safe ride program should be embraced by university officials

Opinions Columnist | Journalism senior

Texas State administration should extend support and aid to the new student-run safe ride program, Bobcat Boost. In a college town that racked up close to 400 DUIs just last year, administration should be eager to try anything to help protect students and the community from the dangers of drunk driving.

Safe ride programs exist at many schools, including Texas A&M and Stephen F. Austin. At one time, Texas State University had a safe-ride program called Students with Alternative Transportation (SWAT) until administration reallocated funding to the drug and alcohol compliance fund in 2009.

Let’s face it, San Martians love their Square. Students that are over 21 are going to go to The Square, drink and then get home, one way or the other. While responsible behavior would dictate that students choose to call a taxi or a friend if they are over the legal limit, many choose to save money or their roommates’ slumber and just drive home. Drunk driving is dangerous and reckless, and there is no excuse for it, but providing safe alternatives and potentially saving lives should be more important than proving a point. There are also instances where a designated driver may slack on their responsibilities, leaving passengers who refuse to get in the car with an intoxicated driver stranded.

According to Bobcat Boost treasurer Ryan O’Donnell, the program will be completely student run and operated and will offer free rides home to Texas State students and San Marcos residents, whether intoxicated or sober. The program will not provide transportation to other bars or parties.

As written on the official Bobcat Boost flier, “The primary goal of this organization is to decrease the amount of intoxicated drivers in our community. This organization will strive to provide a beneficial program, rewarding to both its users and its members.”

Bobcat Boost executives plan to launch the program this fall but are currently scrambling to find sponsors, as they had hoped that the majority of their funding would be granted to them by administration. So far, administration has refused to allocate money to them. This organization requires money for rental cars, insurance and gas.

I speculate that the lack of support from administration comes from a fear that students will party even more with the knowledge that they are guaranteed a safe way home after a night of drinking. However, with DUI rates as high as they are in San Marcos, it is clear that the lack of a safe ride home is not discouraging students and the community from partying but rather making it more dangerous for themselves and innocent bystanders.

It does not send a good message to the Texas State community when the administration refuses to support an organization whose sole purpose is to help keep the students and residents of San Marcos safe.