On ASG and U-Pass

By Rafael Satter

With student elections just around the corner, Always Seek the Good (ASG) is seeking your vote. As part of our effort, we’d like to tell students about one of the central planks in our platform, the Chicago U-Pass. ASG is the only slate that supports the U-Pass, and as such we’d like to clear up a few misconceptions about what it is and what it does. Here are the facts:

Students would pay a flat fee, which, in Chicago, is usually around $60 per semester (as it is at UIC) and would be tacked on to the cost of tuition. Twenty-five schools Chicago area schools already use the U-Pass; these include Loyola University, DePaul University, the University of Illinois at Chicago the Illinois Institute of Technology and a host of Northwestern graduate schools.

Those skeptical of the U-Pass claim it will hike tuition, that it’s inconvenient, and that most students will never use it enough to cover the price of the rebate. They are misinformed. Our goal will not be to add the full pricetag of the U-Pass onto tuition, but will be to gain funding internally from other parts of the University. Students are already paying for University-subsidized transportation: three CTA routes, the 170, the 171, and the 172, and the miscellaneous school bus routes: these hidden payments are indirectly reflected in students’ tuition statements. The money saved on these routes by the adoption of the U-Pass could easily be used to subsidize some of its cost.

The University aims to bring in billions of dollars with its recently launched “Chicago Initiative.” The goal is to make student life on campus more enjoyable. Some of this money might easily be used to help sponsor the U-Pass.

The Somebodies want a shuttle to the red line. But a seventh bus line could easily end up costing students dearly, when the 55 makes the same trip in a fraction of the time of a shuttle. The Usual Suspects claim to be the party of diversity, but they ignore the stunning diversity that our city offers. This is the University of Chicago, not the University of Hyde Park. If you’ve never seen the murals of Pilsen or eaten a gyro in Greektown, then support the U-Pass, and vote ASG.