Students hop on the bus
By James Pugsley and Mark Brown
The doors on the referendum for a $75 universal bus pass swung wide open for Western students last night after a landslide 3,822-1,596 show of support indicated the vast majority of voters are ready to hop on board.
Nick Iozzo, 'Yes' side coordinator for the referendum and University Students' Council municipal affairs commissioner, was overcome by the massive victory. "Wow," he said about earning two 'yes' votes for every 'no.' "To get that many votes it requires a broad support by those in residence, those who use public transit and those who drive and I feel we got all of that."
Iozzo said his next move will be to make an open request to Western President Paul Davenport and members of the Board of Governors to honour the request of undergraduate students. Iozzo said he plans on talking to London Mayor Dianne Haskett today in hopes of convincing the Board of Governors that the bus pass is what the students want.
Julian Hogeterp, coordinator for the 'No' campaign, was also really surprised by the results. "I thought it would be much more balanced," he said, adding that other universities had much closer votes on a similar issue. "I'm a little caught off guard, the vote in Hamilton was close and the vote in Windsor was turned down."
"I still think it is pretty hard to believe students who drive to school would forego that privilege," he said.
However, University Students' Council President Ryan Parks was not at all surprised by the results. "We wouldn't have worked so hard if we didn't think students didn't want it," he said. "I have always thought that there was a demand for the bus pass. I'm happy, but I can't say I'm not surprised."
Hogeterp was also disappointed in the overall voter turnout, saying he expected a number of voters to be around 6,000. "I definitely thought that because this would affect all undergraduate students, there would be a high voter turnout even if they weren't interested in the presidential election."
Iozzo said he felt there were quite a few who were against the pass right from the beginning, but once they had a chance to ponder the issue, they eventually swung to the other side.