Fix the bus pass subsidies

By SPOC (Student Power Organizing Committee

The Student Power Organizing Committee (SPOC) began last summer, founded in order to increase student participation in administrative decisions that directly affect us. Our mission is to organize students to build power and get the college to address issues that we identify as important to us. Our primary concern this year is Macalester’s subsidized bus pass program and how it fails to address our community’s need for a realistic and affordable alternative to driving.SPOC has been in dialogue with the student body and the administration, pushing ideas and discussion about how we can create a Macalester that better responds and represents the needs of the student body along with the staff and faculty. From these conversations, it became clear that affordable public transit was a major concern for members of the Macalester community. Rather than going through the institutional channels to make change, we decided to call upon students to voice their demand directly to those in power. Over 500 students, faculty, and staff responded by signing a petition calling upon the administration to act quickly to address this issue. Further subsidizing unlimited semester-long bus passes at 50%, and maintaining $40 stored value passes at the same rate is a key step to creating that fair and sustainable future.

As of yet, the administration has not yet formally responded to this petition, but discussions have continued at all levels. MCSG has passed a resolution calling for action to be taken to implement this important issue and we hope that with your support, the administration will move quickly to implement a policy change and create affordable bus pass options that include semester-long use passes which are necessary for a diverse group of students including off-campus student employees, interns, students with off-campus jobs and those who volunteer in civic organizations and participate in Twin Cities life.

We intend to meet next week with administrators to ask that they finally address the voices of over 500 members of the Macalester community who signed our petition and the many more who support this issue and provide us with the transportation options we need.

Macalester’s commitment to sustainability means not only taking a stance on abstract issues like climate change and economic justice, but taking proactive steps to make Macalester itself committed to a broader program of sustainable living. Together, we can discuss and implement ideas like affordable bus passes at Macalester. A sustainable Mac not only considers global issues but also is representative of the collective wills of the students, staff and faculty. With your help, we can continue the process of building a college that lets students of all income levels learn from and participate in the Twin Cities.

Only together can we stand up in our interests and create a better Macalester. If you are interested in this issue or other issues that affect student interests, please contact us at [email protected]

SPOC can be reached at [email protected]