The problem with defense

By Jennifer Vinci

Opinion Contributor

In President Ayoub’s Letter to the Editor, he talked about his good experience with the Travel Team. He stated that there is only unsupported suspicion that the Travel Team isn’t doing what they are supposed to do for the students at this College. I’m glad he had a great experience with them, but for many students, this is not their story and calling their stories ‘unsupported suspicion’ is not a good way to go about talking about this problem. If he has had a good experience, then the question becomes, why did he have a good experience when so many others have not? What makes the cases different and why aren’t they held to the same standards overall?

President Ayoub had a good point that the Travel Team quotes expire within three days before another is required. While it would be nice to be able to appeal immediately for that amount, as all clubs know, it is a process. Clubs have to wait for the USA meeting to get it approved.

This brings me to the point of my criticism of the Travel Team where I draw upon my own experiences. I am the President of Fusion. When we asked for a quote for buses for a Lasertron lock in for next semester, the quote from the Travel Team was “$200 for each bus, the cost of two buses being $800.” That was not a typo. That was the included cost for the Travel Team services for 2 school buses. The e-board, out of curiosity, asked for a quote directly from the bus company suggested. The quote was “2 school buses costs $800.” That means there were no savings from using the Travel Team. While the Fusion e-board isn’t going to fight the price of the buses, it does ask the question what the point is to it all. Why bother using the Travel Team as a middleman if there isn’t any benefit to it?

Saying that club leaders cannot book things for themselves is insulting. The club student e-boards book hundreds of events together throughout the school year. Yes, some clubs might want some help. But that doesn’t mean all of them do. What is the point of using the Travel Team if there are no savings and student leaders feel responsible enough to book things themselves? Student leaders do their research on trips that they have never done before in order to know what they are looking at. Travel websites make it easy to find good deals. If the Travel Team isn’t saving the school money, why bother making it a requirement? It should be an option if anyone wants to use it, but the requirement is obviously not to save money or for ease.

President Ayoub also made a great point that if you are abroad, it is nice to have a safety net. The problem is that the Travel Team has not always been good at keeping up that safety net. Last year, I studied abroad in England. My family came to visit me for Christmas, and for that reason, my family also booked with the Travel Team in order to make sure that we were all on the same flights home. While trying to travel back home, we found ourselves in Paris without our tickets from the Travel Team two months after the Paris attack. The agent my dad had been working with stopped answering e-mails and there was no other way to reach the Travel Team. We had to figure it out on our own, just as in the account from a previous edition of the Griffin recalling the time the Travel Team had not actually booked a hotel, leaving students stranded out of town. When there are problems, students are able to figure something out. We are supposed to be becoming responsible adults through attending this College, and travel arrangements are part of that.

President Ayoub’s defense is understandable, given that he is representing the school; however, our representatives should be calling for higher standards from those who are calling the shots, not telling us what we have to deal with. It is their job to communicate between the two levels, not simply regurgitating what the people who run the school say. I understand he has had a good experience, but many haven’t and calling attention away from those stories is not going to help the problem. It is only going to make the frustration increase. Telling students that there isn’t a problem, that we just have to roll over and deal with it, is similar to the argument that “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter.” It doesn’t further discussion. It tells us to shut up. It tells us that no one is listening. We elected our undergraduate Senate in order to be heard and in order to be represented.

The Travel Team isn’t perfect. It probably never will be. But it should be our elected official’s job to demand better.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

© 2018 The Griffin. All rights reserved.
%d bloggers like this: