The Daily Illini

ISG passes resolution to boycott Suburban Express

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

Patrick Li

Patrick Li

The Illinois Student Government meets in the Pine Room in the Illini Union.

By Cori Lippert, Staff Writer

After a slew of controversial emails and apologies sent out by a transit company, the Illinois Student Government passed a proposal to boycott Suburban Express at its Wednesday meeting.

“As an international student here, I felt a lot of things when I saw the Suburban Express emails, but one thing I didn’t feel was surprised,” said Senator Rahul Raju, senior in Engineering.“In big ways and small, a lot of us international students, regardless of background, regardless of where we are from, we hear the same arguments. Some people say it in very stupid language, like Suburban Express did, others use milder words, but say similar ideas nonetheless.”

ISG passed a proposal which calls for ISG to boycott Suburban Express and for the company to stop picking up and dropping off students on campus property. The company currently utilizes Illinois Street Residence Halls, Altgeld Hall and the Armory.

Senator Walter Lindwall, junior in LAS, said the boycott would affect only Suburban Express and not Peoria Charter, a competing transit company.

This proposal also called for Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to stop having Suburban Express advertisements on its buses.

Transportation Representative Jacob Rajlich, sophomore in Engineering, said MTD does not have legal standing to deny advertisement from a company just because it wants to.

Senator Jonathan Heideman, senior in LAS, called to remove the part in the resolution that asks MTD to remove Suburban Express advertisements because ISG can not ask to remove Suburban Express advertisements from other buses.

This proposal also asks to remove all Suburban Express advertisement from University property that does not comply with the student code. 

In a statement released Sunday, three University officials commented on the school’s relationship with Suburban Express.

The university has no business relationship with this company, said the letter signed by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Danita Brown Young, Director of International Student and Scholar Services Martin McFarlane and Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela.

Lindwall proposed an addition to the proposal that would call on ISG to support Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s investigation into Suburban Express and to help in any way the student government can.

“(Companies such as Suburban Express) make us feel, very often as international students, as second-class members of this University,” Raju said. “I tried my best to shake that off. I’ve tried my best to be as active member of this community as I can, but sometimes you always feel like you fall a little.”

Rajlich expressed his concern about Suburban Express during member comments of the meeting.

“As recent events have shown, there are issues with campus transportation outside of this campus and taking people elsewhere. I was shocked and astounded by the email initially sent out by Suburban Express as an advertisement,” Rajlich said. “I want to work with (international students), I want to work with everybody here on this campus to ensure that we have good transportation away from this University.”

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