GPSC, ASUA save Escort Service from bankruptcy

By Zach Thomas

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The ASUA Escort Service dodged bankruptcy when both GPSC and the Undergraduate Senate approved $4,245 of escort funding two weeks ago.

The funding was designed to prevent a forced service shutdown on November 19.

Drawn from monies already allocated to the escort service's spring budget, the $4,245 is roughly $2,200 less than the $6,465.82 shortfall estimate made in October.

Assuming the estimates are correct, the escort service will now be funded through January 15 of next year, said Tim Walker, escort service director, in presentations to the GPSC and Undergraduate Senate.

The budget problem stems from greatly increased service use, due primarily to an increase in advertising and promotions, Walker said.

Costs, especially fuel expenditures, have also skyrocketed due to the addition of a new gas-powered cart, he said, adding that Escort Service use increased 108 percent between the months of August and October this year.

The legislative proposal, presented by Andrea Major, Associated Students vice president for programs and services, is a breakdown of needed funds, including fuel, employee payroll and other various costs.

ASUA, which has approved only a fall semester budget, plans to "redo the numbers a bit," said ASUA President Benjamin Driggs. "We cut various parts of ASUA to get additional savings."

Part of a federally-mandated program under the Americans With Disabilities Act, the ASUA Escort Service has provided daytime rides to disabled students since 1990, serving locations both on and off campus. The daytime service is partially funded by $25,000 in retained fee money.

Another portion of the service, the Nighttime Safe Ride Program, has an 11-year history of providing secure transportation at night and is staffed by volunteers as opposed to paid employees.

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