Letters to the Editor

    Triton Taxi a waste of students’ money

    Editor:

    Marianne Madden seems to be making two points in her piece in the May 17 Guardian, “Watson wrong about Triton Taxi” — both of which can be summarized as advocacy for responsible students being forced to pay for transportation for the drunk and irresponsible. First she defends the program in general, and second she attacks Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson’s rejection of making Triton Taxi waivers available online. To the former, it is simply ludicrous to suggest that a significant number of rides provided by Triton Taxi are for students participating in off-campus, nonalcohol-related events. If, in fact, students are going to off-campus bridge or knitting clubs and need rides back to campus, I apologize, and I am sure Watson would re-evaluate his stance. The fact, however, is that Triton Taxi provides students living on campus — most of whom are underage — an opportunity to engage in binge drinking with strangers in private residences off campus. As we saw May 21, when UCSD’s Associated Students spent $160,000 of our money for the musical styling of Busta Rhymes, et al., there are plenty of opportunities for on-campus debauchery.

    To the latter, Madden claims that Watson stated the Triton Taxi program “causes” alcohol consumption, when in fact he said (as she quotes), “It is a program to facilitate the consumption of alcohol.” While Madden claims that Watson is, “confusing the direction of causation,” it is Madden who is confusing facilitation and causation. Of course Watson does not claim that the existence of the Triton Taxi program is the sole reason for student drinking, but rather Triton Taxi facilitates (or aids, if a definition is needed) off-campus drinking. As the A.S. representative to the Registration Fee Committee — an organization that distributes millions of dollars of student fees — it seems ludicrous to me that Associated Students would waste money on providing students with transportation from an off-campus site that it has no ability to control or govern. Perhaps if the off-campus binge drinking facilities would agree to adhere to UCSD bylaws or the university could oversee the activities that occur there, transportation would be warranted. If UCSD student fees are going to shuttling students to off-campus drinking-fests, we should at least be given some oversight as to what the party’s facilitators’ intentions are with underage students.

    Madden twists Watson’s words, attempting to make him sound careless and that he causes students to kill themselves by driving drunk. I appreciate Watson’s concern not for the irresponsible participants of binge drinking, but for those of us students who work dozens of hours per week to pay for our education and do not want to see it wasted on providing chauffeurs for the drunk. Responsibility for irresponsible actions should be placed at the foot of the participant, not his or her vice chancellor or his or her peers who see better uses for their student fees.

    — Charles Dahan

    A.S. Representative, Registration Fee Committee

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