By Jennifer Amsler
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Student leaders discussed an idea at last night's ASUA Senate meeting for a ride program similar to SafeRide that would drive intoxicated students home.
Cats Realizing the Importance of a Designated Driving Escort is still being discussed with the university, University of Arizona Police Department and the community to make the program as effective as possible, said Jason Cobb, founder of Cats RIDDE.
The program, if implemented, would operate on weekends from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and pick up students in the UA vicinity, said Cobb, a UA graduate.
Cats RIDDE would be free for all UA students, regardless of their age, he said.
Cobb has been working with Erin Hertzog, ASUA senator, and together they are trying to get support so the program can begin as soon as possible.
Cobb said he covered many of the details and legal concerns, and the next step is to get approval for the service.
"We're staring small to see how it goes," Cobb said.
The program does not yet have funds or support from the UA or the community to cover North Fourth Avenue or many major apartment complexes, he said.
Cobb said details such as liability, rules, insurance and training for drivers are still in the planning stages.
He said UAPD has agreed to have a student position at UAPD that would specifically work with Cats RIDDE. If problems were to arise with rowdy students using the service, the driver could contact the Cats RIDDE volunteer at UAPD.
Cobb said this position has eliminated many of the liability problems that have stopped Cats RIDDE from happening.
Hertzog said the idea is developing into a club, and drivers would be volunteers.
"We are hoping to make this a class where volunteers could receive school credit," Hertzog said.
She said they are looking into training drivers to be prepared if a highly intoxicated passenger needs medical attention.
"The training would be incredibly intensive," Hertzog said.
Similar programs at other schools have been successful, Cobb said, and he hopes to help students find safe ways home after drinking.
"I want to create an awareness about drinking and driving. Everyone has been personally affected by drunken driving," Cobb said.
The ASUA Senate announced the selection of three new justices and a new chief justice to fill vacancies in the ASUA Supreme Court at last night's meeting.
Kristina Betts, Blake Mayes and Samuel Chang were selected as court justices for the 2004-2005 school year and are very qualified, said Alistair Chapman, ASUA president.
Janis Gallego, a justice last year, will be chief justice.
All justices are law students, and this year 10 students applied, an increase from last year, Chapman said.
He said duties of the court include handling ASUA conflicts such as election disputes, internal problems, club concerns and interpretation of ASUA bylaws.
"They plan to do much more this year than they've done in the past," Chapman said.