It was a three-ring circus without a ringmaster.

As reported in The Hoya today (“[Weekend GUTS Lack Funding](,” A1), students and the greater Georgetown community could face almost complete loss of weekend Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle service. The situation arises from a discomforting lack of oversight and communication on the part of university administrators, the Student Activities Commission and Georgetown University Student Association. In light of these developments, the university must take steps to avert the halt in service and ensure its long-term viability.

Expanded weekend GUTS service was initiated by GUSA in 2006. After GUSA asked SAC for funding, the commission allocated money from the Alumni Gift Account to finance the program. Dean for Finance and Administration in the Office of Student Affairs Lynne Hirschfeld was charged with handling the account. Recently, however, those involved were surprised to learn that the account is now running dry. Without a new source of funding, weekend GUTS service as it is now will be discontinued.

The news is made all the more frustrating by the lapse in supervision on the part of GUSA, SAC and the university. It is unclear who was directly in charge of monitoring the account – a problem on its own. It doesn’t seem that any of these three entities thought to investigate the status of the fund as it began to slowly bleed dry.

The timing couldn’t be worse, as the news comes shortly after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced proposed cuts to the late night G2 Metrobus service. As we wrote recently (“[Skimping on Bus Service](,” The Hoya, April 9, 2010, A2), reducing G2 service would severely limit students’ access to the greater D.C. area. Moreover, cuts in GUTS service as well as Metrobus service raise safety concerns in the wake of recent crime in the Georgetown neighborhood. Simply put, fewer buses translate to more students on dark streets late at night.

Furthermore, the students would not be the only ones affected by the GUTS bus pinch. Just as during the week, medical employees, graduate students, university staff and others who use GUTS to travel to campus will face another obstacle in reaching our already secluded Hilltop community.

Despite the university, GUSA and SAC’s lack of long-term planning, GUTS service will continue at least until the end of the semester. As they are now aware of the grim situation, the parties involved will have the summer to search for a solution and a new funding source. Anything short of full funding will seriously impede student transportation.

There is plenty of blame to go around. GUSA created an unsustainable new program that, while necessary, was not properly funded or considered beyond the first few years. SAC provided the initial financing but neglected its duty to ensure the program’s continued operation. Hirschfeld, who was ostensibly in charge of the SAC Alumni Gift Account, did not adequately warn GUSA and SAC that the account balance was approaching zero. Miscommunication and negligence evidently played a part in the equation, as did turnover in SAC and GUSA leadership. Nonetheless, increased accountability is paramount going forward.

University administrators must take steps to ensure the survival of the weekend GUTS buses and to guarantee that any future plan is financially solvent in the long term. The current situation is unacceptable and should have been avoided. By failing to properly manage the monetary resources necessary for the weekend service, administrators have placed the campus in danger of losing one of its most vital links to the broader D.C. community.

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