There is a persistent problem on the UMass Dartmouth campus. It affects an extraordinary number of students every single day and the school administration has com- pletely given up trying to fix it. There is an unidentified force that causes student vehicles to malfunction and bre- ak down on ring road in between Birch Grill and the Aspen and Ivy apartments.
They can be spotted in the evening with their hazard lights flashing, frustrated drivers resig- ning themselves to ea- ting at birch to stave off the hunger that grows while they wait for AAA to service their vehicles. These poor souls who, undoubtedly, were on
their way to work, class, or home to visit family, have had their evenings cut short by something beyond their control, so- mething the school shou- ld fix. This issue seems to have been going on for years and the school administration has yet to give any formal address as to why this is happe- ning.
This issue raises se- veral questions. First, is the school to blame for this phenomenon? If not for causing it, then for refusing to investi- gate the cause? There is no telling how many thousands of dollars in service fees it has cost the unlucky drivers who fall prey to this force. Should that money lost be reimbursed by the university? Some believe that it should. They say that this issue is similar to damage caused by a
pothole on a city street. The city is responsible for repairing the potho- le, and is subsequently responsible for the cost of any damage sustained by that pothole.
Second, why does this phenomenon exclusively affect the short distance on ring road stretching from Ivy to Aspen? Whi- le there is no clear rea- son or consensus, it can only be assumed that the magnetic field of the glo- be is disproportionately strong on that length of road. This causes dead batteries, blown spark plugs, flat tires, and unhappy motorists.
There are some of the fringes, who wish to re- main anonymous, who say that the university is deliberately allowing this to go on. They po- int to the profits gained at Birch Grill by the drivers unlucky enough
to be stuck eating the- re so that they can be within view of the AAA tow truck they hope will arrive. These same pe- ople also bring up the newly increased parking ticket prices that are being doled out by DPS who think these cars are merely “parking illega- lly” for a fast meal at Birch. They say that it’s no coincidence that the prices went up so soon after this issue really be- gan taking hold.
No matter what may be causing this, or who’s to blame, it is clear that this is a problem that needs solving. No one on campus can drive with any piece of mind whi- le the university turns a blind eye to the issues of the students. This pro- blem attacks indiscrimi- nately and with out mer- cy, it needs to be solved.
Photo courtesy: Michael Kilbride