Cougar Safe Rides scales back next year due to S&A cuts

Cougar Safe Rides will be reduced to a three day per week schedule, will have a smaller team

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor

Due to next year’s Services and Activities Fee cuts, Cougar Safe Rides will see a reduced operating schedule to three days a week.

Amy Sharp, director of the Women*s Center, oversees the Cougar Safe Rides program. Sharp said before this semester, the service already operated on a three day per week schedule.

“They’ve been working, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays,” Sharp said. “After the incident that happened in Moscow, they were asked to run seven days a week. … I know they’re bummed they couldn’t do more, but with what they have with their finances, this is what it’s going to look like.”

Sharp said the only way the S&A fee cuts will affect Cougar Safe Rides is through the number of people they are able to hire. The team will be cut down to five people, but they will still be able to operate as usual.

“They won’t have the kind of money to spend on volunteers because they pay for background checks, which can get pretty pricey if they get a huge team with a lot of volunteers,” Sharp said.

S&A fees go to non-academic student programs, with ASWSU and GPSA being a few other examples of S&A funded organizations.

Despite the decreased S&A allocations to individual groups, fees paid per student will increase 3.5%. The decision will be finalized once the Board of Regents meet May 4 and 5. 

The three days on which Cougar Safe Rides will be in operation are the most popular days for the service, Sharp said. She said it is possible rides will be in less demand next year anyway due to less students attending WSU.

“They’re not going anywhere, it’s just going to be smaller, and that’s OK. Do less with less,” she said. “I hope those who are coming next year would look at volunteering opportunities with Cougar Safe Rides. It means a lot to the team, but they can only do so much. That’s one way to really help them out.”