On Aug. 21, 2015, the Manhattanville College community received an email on behalf of administration informing students that the Valiant Express would be experiencing schedule changes for the upcoming academic school year. With the discontinuation of the 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. pick-up times, Manhattanville compensated with the addition of morning bus routes that ran between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Judith W. Spain, J.D., Chief Compliance Officer of Manhattanville College, helped to educate administration on the Drug Free Schools and Community Act of 1989 (DFSCA) and what the College was in compliance with in regard to the DFSCA. The DFSCA then turned its attention over to the Valiant Express as well as other agendas on campus. Spain was unavailable for comment with Touchstone.
It was due to an indirect violation of the DFSCA as well as excessive damages that resulted in the decision by administration to bring the former Valiant Express schedule under review and remove the late night hours.
The Manhattanville College community was displeased with the decision to remove the late night weekend bus; however, student voices have been heard by administration.
On Nov. 10, 2016, President Michael Geisler told Touchstone that discussions revolving around the return of the 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. Valiant Express are underway.
“I think we are willing to bring back the bus starting in the spring term,” said President Geisler.
However, it is up to the actions of the students whether or not the Valiant Express will be here to stay.
“We would have to be reasonably assured that the damages to the bus, threats to Campus Safety, and behavior by people who have had more alcohol than they could handle will not be tolerated,” said President Geisler.
If the Valiant Express is to be brought back in the spring semester, the student body of Manhattanville College must abide by an Honor Code put in place by the Student Government Association (SGA). This honor code is to be constructed by SGA alongside administration and is intended to be completed during the fall 2016 semester.
“The Honor Code which SGA is looking to implement will hold students accountable for their actions,” said Charlie Rusch, Student Body President of the Student Government Association.
To expand on President Geisler’s concern for damages, threats, and behavior, Dean Sharlise Smith- Rodriguez sternly states that any damages to the campus will not be tolerated with the return of the late night Valiant Express.
“Not only damages to the bus or the behavior [of students],” Dean Smith-Rodriguez said, “But students must be mindful of their behavior when they return back to campus in the residence halls, driving around, and in Benziger.”
The Manha anville College mission is to educate students to be ethical and socially-responsible leaders in a global community. With the addition of the Honor
Code, Manhattanville College is expecting that students continue to follow the mission as they regularly do with the reinstatement of the Valiant Express.
“Students should look at the Valiant as a privilege and should understand that their actions will not only hurt themselves but will also hurt the rest of the student body,” said Rusch.
With the Valiant Express potentially reverting back to its original schedule for the spring semester, this means that the morning route that was put in place of the late night bus hours will be removed from the schedule. A majority of passengers on the morning bus routes during the weekdays are faculty and staff.
“The ridership is very light [on the morning bus],” said President Geisler, “And there are alternative modes of transportation that are available in the morning that are not available at night.”
The safety of students is a priority to the administration, which is why various modes of transportation have been under review since the initial removal of the Valiant Express in Aug., 2015.
“We are now bringing in transportation at a reasonably
late hour at night,” said President Geisler, “So walking on highways at any time of the day is not a good idea. It is now round the clock transportation to and from White Plains so there is no need to do that as long as you are patient enough to wait for the next bus.”
With the addition of an Honor Code and the cooperation of students, the Valiant Express
will be a safe and reasonable mode of transportation for students who wish to see shows in Manha an during the late hours, grab a bite to eat at one of the White Plans restaurants, or have a fun night out. It is up to you though, if the Valiant Express remains for semesters exceeding the spring term.
“This will not work unless we work together on this,” said President Geisler.