ASG recommends that school pilots Smart Pass program
May 3, 2018
Discussions grew contentious as Associated Student Government (ASG) debated the merits of implementing a Smart Pass program with the Valley Transportation Association (VTA).
Sophomore senator Helen Kassa and first-year senator Ciara Moezidis answered senators’ questions about a resolution proposed during the previous week’s meeting.
The resolution would encourage the university to pilot a Smart Pass program, which would allow Santa Clara students to ride VTA buses for free.
The price of the passes— $13 per quarter, per student—were at the crux of the debate. If Santa Clara agreed to pilot the pass, the cost would be footed by an increase in all students’ tuition, regardless of their use of the pass. Senators heavily debated the implications of both the Smart Pass as well as the tuition increase.
Arguments against the program included the belief that many students would not utilize the pass, as the current culture at Santa Clara does not encourage students to use public transportation.
Many of the senators were in agreement that the current culture at Santa Clara encouraged students to drive their own cars or using rideshare services such as Uber, over public transportation.
In addition, many senators were worried about the potential tuition hike, with sophomore senator David Warne stating that he could not vote for a resolution that would require an increase in tuition.
Arguments in favor of the program focused on relieving traffic and congestion around Santa Clara as well as the school’s commitment to suitability. This included a reading of the O’Connor Environment Standard listed in ASG’s bylaws by Chief Justice Rachel Brooke Herzog. The standard requires that ASG members promote environmentally sustainable habits.
After an hour of discussion and debate, the resolution passed in favor of the Smart Pass 13 to 6.
Pro Tempore Sam McNeal, junior senator Alex Perlman, Kassa and sophomore Emma Stinson from Santa Clara Community Action Program’s Labor Action Committee presented a resolution to the support the unionization rights of non-tenure track faculty and adjunct lectures and faculty.
All six proposed Registered Student Organizations (RSO) that presented in the previous week were approved and are now officially RSOs. They include Fight to End Animal Torture (F.E.A.T); SCU Tap Club; Active Minds; CHAARG; PERIOD.; and Middle Eastern and North African Club (MENA).
Additionally, the Senate decided that they would not seek a resolution to support Regional Measure 3, a proposed traffic bill they had learned about last week. Measure 3 is a bill that aims to expand public transportation in the Bay Area.
Senators felt that Measure 3 did not have much of an effect on the university and did not appear to have a fully developed plan at the moment.
The next Senate meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 in the Williman Room.
Contact Emma Pollans at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.