Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) has suspended Late Nite services following “antagonistic student behavior” on State Street.
OCCT Late Nite — a service that provides downtown transportation to students — has dealt with incidents of “antagonistic behavior” before, such as a past transgression that led to a cancellation of Late Nite routes two weekends in a row. According to Toni Stefanakos, public relations coordinator for OCCT, this past Saturday, Oct. 29, Late Nite services were suspended due to an incident Friday night involving “reckless” student behavior on the corner of State Street and Hawley Street, leading to an altercation with the police. At the corner of the two streets is a Late Nite bus stop frequented by students.
“We are disheartened to report that last night, this antagonistic behavior took a sudden turn and directly targeted the police officers on the scene at State Street,” a statement from the Student Association (SA) Executive Board read. “This behavior is not only unacceptable but places everyone at risk.”
Daniel Croce — SA vice president for finance, chairman and chief financial officer for OCCT and a junior majoring in business administration — provided information regarding the perpetrators of this incident, saying they “involved a large and disorderly group of students and created great safety risks for themselves and everyone at the scene.”
Due to this incident, Late Nite services will remain suspended Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5, pending further communications between the SA and university administration, according to a SA Instagram announcement. The SA, OCCT and the Transportation and Parking Services department (TAPS) are working to reopen Late Nite services within the next few weeks, however, they are considering the “very real possibility of a permanent Late [Nite] termination,” according to Croce.
“There are a number of options that the SA, myself and OCCT are considering when it comes to a permanent solution for Late [Nite] servicing,” Croce wrote in an email. “The originally developed plan was scheduled to be fully rolled out this upcoming weekend. However, the incidents of this past weekend have required OCCT to actively review and expand the original scope of the plan. Among possible considerations include potential route changes, bus stop location changes and staffing changes.”
Many students rely on the Late Nite service as their only form of transportation back to campus during the weekends. While some students find the suspension to be unavoidable in lieu of repeated disorderly conduct, others believe there are alternative options to resolving the issue.
Adeline Roy, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said suspending the bus line for the rest of the semester may be necessary. Roy described the service as a privilege.
“I definitely think the Late Nite bus service is a big privilege for students who are on campus,” Roy said. “And as unfortunate as it is, I feel like given the circumstances, I feel like it being revoked — even if it’s just for the rest of the semester — it will probably make students think about their actions a little bit more. Especially because they were downtown, I’m sure they were completely drunk, too. So, and there are other ways to get downtown, there are Ubers, you can phone a friend. So as unfortunate as it is that those buses won’t be there anymore, for the meantime, I feel like it’s a good situation for the safety of the drivers. I have a few friends who drive the buses.”
Keonna Hyacinth, a junior majoring in biology, was waiting on the bus line Friday night when she witnessed “a lot of pushing and aggression.” Hyacinth expressed discomfort with the OCCT bus protocol, and said she hopes a more effective solution than suspending the service can be developed.
“I witnessed a lot of pushing and aggression between the students as people tried to get on the bus,” Hyacinth wrote in an email. “There was a police officer at the scene. I feel uncomfortable with this behavior knowing that every time I try to take the bus there may be some sort of incident. I think the school needs to put a better system in place because the amount of buses running during those times are not enough for the amount of students who are in need of the bus.”
Editor’s Note (11/3/22): This article was updated on Nov. 3 to include updated information regarding Late Nite closures.