The Assembly Never Learns

In 2001, the Student Assembly cancelled its Big Green Bikes program–designed to provide free bicycle transportation to students–because the 50 cheap bikes were either stolen or neglected.

Last spring, the Assembly tried again, spending $1,200 on ten two-wheelers for a revamped program called Rides Across Dartmouth. Two of the bikes were stolen and the rest were returned, but missing handlebars or seats.

To build on this record of failure and waste, the Assembly has decided to try again. The group will spend up to $4,000 of its precious remaining budget, plus $3,500 in donations, on between 75 and 100 bikes.

But that’s not all: the soon-to-be-stolen bikes–the locks will be little deterrent–will be of a higher quality than those stolen in the past and thus a more appealing target for thieves. Representative Diana Zhang ’06 said that in order to discourage theft and abuse, the Assembly will buy more expensive communal machines; she said this would somehow foster a sense of ownership. Wouldn’t actual ownership better foster a sense of ownership?