Crazy Cruiser Routes and Representation Issues

At this week’s Senate meeting, Student Government Association (SGA) President senior Ram Parimi and representative from Birnie Bus services, Leo Naylor, led a discussion on the changes that could be made to the current Cruiser schedule.Last weekend, the Colgate Cruiser took a different route than usual. Instead of two Cruisers taking the same route in opposite directions, the Cruisers took two separate routes. Both Cruisers stopped in town, but one proceeded to the apartments and then returned to town, while the other went up the hill and then returned to town. This change in route was made to test the possible ways of making the Cruiser schedule better serve the Colgate community.Many senators voiced their opinions about positive and negative aspects of the current Cruiser schedule. Among the suggestions made was having the Cruiser schedule start earlier then its current 7:45 a.m. time. One senator suggested that if the Cruiser started running early, then students who live in the apartments would be able to get up the hill over half an hour prior to 8:20 a.m. classes. Having the Cruiser run earlier on weekends would also allow students to take the Cruiser to religious services in town.”The downtown late-night pick-up on Fridays and Saturdays gets packed on its last run,” sophomore Senator Kristin Pfeilsticker said. “Sometimes, [this situation] leaves people to walk back to their dorms when they had expected to catch a cruiser and had probably dressed accordingly. The evening schedule needs to be improved in frequency as well as punctuality.”Sophomore Senator Brandon Greene feels similarly.”There needs to be a better awareness of when high load times exist,” he said. “For example, at 2:30 a.m., when the Jug and other bars downtown close, there needs to be an appropriate amount of space to take kids up the hill and to the apartment. There’s definitely a safety issue with overcrowding intoxicated students in such a small space.”First-year East Hall representative Nikhil Fernandes likes the idea of a larger cruiser. “I think [the Cruiser] works,” he said, “but it is slightly inefficient. The Cruiser schedule is good, but not many people know about it. A [more simple] schedule would be much better.”Other suggestions included adding another Cruiser into the schedule, having larger buses that could carry more people, extending operating hours for the Cruiser when there are special events in town and eliminating the Student Health Center as a Cruiser stop.Despite the variety of suggestions made to improve the Cruiser schedule, there was a general consensus amongst the senators. In order to make the Cruiser more convenient and time-efficient, the schedule must be changed.The Senate also discussed the possibility of changing Senate. Currently, representation of the Senate is comprised of senators chosen by residential housing and Senators-At-Large. For most residential buildings up the hill, there is only one senator from each building. Some students felt that the distribution of senators is somewhat unequal. Certain residential halls, such as East Hall, Andrews Hall and Curtis Hall, which house over 100 students, each have one senator for each building. However, smaller houses, such as La Casa and the Lodge, which have less than 30 people, have the same representation.The question over whether residential-based representation in the Senate is the best way of representing the Colgate community was also raised. Other methods suggested having a certain number of representatives for each class based on the number of students within the class. Other ideas included having senators represent student-run clubs and abroad students, in addition to residential communities.”I think that representation based on housing is a good concept because [senators] represent a certain population, their residential community,” Fernandes said. “However, senators-at-large don’t have a specific constituency.”First-year Senator Rob Sobelman also sees flaws in the current Senate representation system. “Currently, students are very well-represented, but it is not perfect,” he said. “While every student has at least one senator that represents [him or her], the groups are sometimes well over 100 people, which makes personal representation impractical.”The discussions about the Cruiser schedule and SGA representation were simply means of collecting ideas and opinions about the issues. Because there were no proposals or amendments made, a vote was not taken on either issue. Proposals and further discussion on these issues will occur in upcoming Senate meetings.