USS talks about buses and special elections

Jessica Rothschuh

Undergraduate Student Senate held a public forum with Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority officials last night at its weekly meeting to discuss students’ comments and concerns.

“How has the transition gone with taking the Kent campus routes under your wing at PARTA?” Executive Director Gary Broadbent asked.

Frank Hairston, marketing and equal employment opportunity director, said the transition has gone well.

“We’re very pleased,” Hairston said. “Our staff is doing a great job.”

Sen. Valerie Fatica raised concerns about the quality of Student Disability Transportation Services. She said she was turned down when she called PARTA for a ride to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday.

“I was wondering if something could be done about that?” Fatica asked.

Joe Yensel, assistant operations manager, said the buses are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

“I’m not sure why they would have said that,” Yensel said.

Broadbent also asked about the student hiring problems PARTA has had in the past. He said some believe PARTA does not hire students.

PARTA has been recruiting student employees each week in Tri-Towers, Hairston said.

“Our goal is to continue to hire students,” Hairston said. “We’re one of the only off-campus employers that offers work-study.”

Other problems addressed were the lack of Sunday service and the infrequence of stadium service.

USS also passed an amendment to its charter concerning special elections. The amendment will have to be approved by a majority of undergraduate students and also by the Board of Trustees before being implemented.

Each semester, at least one senate position ends up vacated and a special election is held to fill it. Often, the newly elected senator has little time to be trained on his or her responsibilities before the term is over.

The amendment would still allow a special election for positions vacated on or before Oct. 1. After this date, the change would allow USS to appoint, by a three-fourths majority vote, a new senator to fill the vacant spot.

“After Oct. 1, it’s kind of rushed with the semester change,” Fatica said.

Contact student politics reporter Jessica Rothschuh at [email protected].