Most students on the Mizzou campus stroll the sidewalks of Hitt Street at least once or twice a day. Memorial Student Union is one of the go-to places to get a Starbuck’s fix or study for a bit. To get to the Union, students often have to cross Hitt Street, however. This semester, even with the “Closed Campus” signs, making that trek across the street seems more risky than usual due to an increased number of apartment shuttle buses picking up and dropping off right in front of the iconic archway.
Brenna Fletcher, a student at Mizzou, has embraced the change this semester.
“I’ve taken the shuttle from my apartment to campus for more than two years now, and I like the new drop-off spot on Hitt Street,” Fletcher said. “It is closer to my classes this semester, and I always hated waiting at the bus stop on Rollins because there tends to be a bumblebee problem there and I’m terrified of bees.”
Students at the University of Missouri are accustomed to buses stopping along Rollins Street, in front of the Student Center. According to the city bus map, buses still do this on a daily basis. However, housing complex buses have changed their routine. Every day, masses of students gather in front of Memorial Union to catch their ride. While some wait, others who are crossing or riding bikes, are cautious to avoid the buses barreling down the street.
Brittany Wheeler, a senior at Mizzou, agrees that the route change is a welcome one. She has taken housing buses in the past and was aggravated by their routes.
“It was frustrating in the evenings because the route took you to the Hearnes Center, so it was a very long ride,” Wheeler said. [A stop at Memorial Union] “would have been nice to get to my classes that were on the other side of campus.”
While safety is the first issue of concern, convenience is also another important aspect of this change. Students who ride the buses to apartment complexes or student housing were made aware of the change in route, according to The Domain and Aspen Heights websites. However, this change was presented in the bus route map, so if students did not pick one up, they were more than likely still expecting to be picked up in front of the Student Center. As for the city buses, most of them still pick up and drop off at their regular location along Rollins Street, according to the city ordinance.
According to Jack Watring, Chief of Police for Columbia Police Department, the buses are in compliance with city ordinance C, section 14-180,
The city ordinance states that buses have the right to drive beyond the closed campus signs from 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. to pick up or drop off students. Not all may agree with the change, but rerouting the buses is not in direct violation of this ordinance.
Captain Brian Weimer, Chief of Campus Police, said student safety is always a number one priority. He and Captain Watring are also members of the Campus Safety Committee. Both officers said that the buses going onto the closed campus do not endanger students in any way. In fact, they noted that the route that city buses take to the Student Center along Rollins Street is also on a closed campus route.
While the change seems to be a significant one for students and faculty to adjust to, there are no laws being broken. Campus police officers are often stationed at the start of the closed campus patrolling for violators; however Captain Weimer says no extra officers have been used. This is yet another safety precaution in place to keep pedestrians safe on campus. So while often change is a bad thing, according to some students such as Fletcher and Wheeler, this one seems to have made a good fit.