Future of Halloween Ibis Ride uncertain

The likenesses of Captain Jack Sparrow, Tarzan and Jesus were not pleased when disorganization and lack of crowd control overran Stanford Circle and disrupted the shuttle ride to the Grove last Halloween.

The Miami Hurricane reported on Nov. 3, 2006 that a number of factors contributed to the confusion, including a lack of preparedness for the amount of traffic on US-1 heading towards the Grove on a night like Halloween and a miscommunication between shuttles.

“Some of the students were out of control, and it was based on the anger of having to wait and the anger of people butting in front,” said David A. Rivero, UM’s director of public safety.

Immediately after last October’s incident at Stanford Circle, the Dean of Students office formed a committee to assess the Ibis Ride situation. That committee decided to cancel the shuttle to the Grove on Halloween.

The cancellation is now being reassessed because Student Government, who had initiated the special Ibis Ride three years ago, felt that they should be involved with the decision. Recently inaugurated SG president Danny Carvajal, former president Annette Ponnock, former Senate speaker John Constantinide and recently elected speaker Brandon Gross met with Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs and decided to form a shuttle review committee that would consist of students, administrators, UM Police Department staff and traffic engineers.

“We’ve discussed having more shuttle rides starting at earlier times or advising students to pick up a ticket or a voucher so we can keep track of the number of students and plan ahead,” Whitely said. “These are all things that the committee will have to review.”

The committee, co-chaired by Richard Walker, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, and Nanette Vega, assistant dean of students, will submit a report to Whitely by Aug. 1. Whitely will then decide whether to continue the shuttles on Halloween.

“First and foremost the committee has to examine what the issue was last year,” Walker said. “Students arrived intoxicated to the buses, and that definitely won’t happen again this year.”

Rivero, also a member of the review committee, hopes to work with the City of Miami Police Department to determine a better system to continue the shuttles.

“I don’t want to see kids driving themselves, coming home drunk and then having to drive a car through the streets of Miami at three in the morning,” Rivero said. “I think by providing the shuttle service we will keep our kids safe.”

Constantinide, who supports the continuation of the Halloween shuttle, feels that there is enough student demand to continue the shuttles to the Grove.

“I think students want to have the option of going to the Grove on Halloween,” he said.

“The system just needs to be rethought-out with better logistics as far as drop off points, time of arrival at Stanford and the Grove, route planning and communication between buses.”

Carvajal also hopes to see the continuation of the Halloween shuttle ride, but understands the nature of the service.

“This is a privilege that we have as students since it’s not a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night,” he said. “In order for us to continue doing this it’s [the students’] responsibility to behave.”

Because the Ibis Ride on Halloween is not a guarantee, other plans have been discussed including a bloc-style party on campus. The party idea was proposed by the former Pier 21, UM’s recently renamed Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education, and would include bands and activities on the UC Rock or on the Green.

Whitely supported this idea, but plans were scrapped when the administration realized that Halloween falls during the same week as Homecoming this fall.

Though having a Halloween event on campus would help ensure student safety, students such as sophomore Michael Williams would prefer to go keep the shuttle system and go to the Grove.

“Of course every student would want the shuttles,” Williams said. “The problem this year was they had one bus pull up and every student that was there rushed to the bus,” he said.

“Next year, they should just increase the amount of buses and minimize the amount of students to make it a more manageable situation.”

Karyn Meshbane may be contacted at k.meshbane@umiami.edu.