Recently, the administration of Roger Williams University introduced a new driving policy that prohibits students from driving off-campus to attend class. Rather than operate their own vehicles in order to transport themselves to site visits, the university requires student to utilize university vans, university shuttles, walk or seek public transportation.
Students may only use their own vehicles if they have included the university in their insurance, which for some means dealing with a substantial amount of financial coverage. Students are also given the opportunity to receive training to become van certified, so that they are capable of being the designated driver for class vehicles.
While the effects of this policy are not totally clear yet, there are some members of the RWU community who are concerned that this new enactment will have a negative impact on classes and organizations that have regular off-campus activities and needs.
On the other hand, there are some who believe the policy does not change much and is instead a telegraphed step in the process of turning the university into a safer environment for students by reducing the possibility of car accidents.
Director of Student Programs and Leadership Carol Sachetti reports that she finds the new policy to be beneficial to campus, and that it has not created any obstacles for classes to her knowledge.
“Much of the policy has not changed. Students utilizing the Senate Vans have always needed to be van certified,” Sacchetti stated. “It is not harder to coordinate activities as students have always had to request vans in a responsible time frame and be van certified.”
According to Sacchetti, this new policy has not made it any more difficult for students to transport themselves to classes and sites off-campus. Sacchetti states that there is a list of certified drivers that can be found on the Public Safety webpage, and that if students need to plan ahead for a ride off-campus then they can consult the individuals on the list.
“The University has had a driver authorization process in the past. The policy now allows students to drive their own vehicles provided that they fall within the guidelines. It also requires that drivers have to be 20 years old to drive minivans. Those over 21 can drive a 12 passenger van after completing a road test,” Sacchetti said.
Student response to the new policy will continue to be observed as the year progresses.