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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Excess: Penn State’s Electric Motorcycles

Few news items could more perfectly sum up the culture of excess that plagues higher education than the recent announcement by Penn State University Police that they have acquired two new electric motorcycles.

Touting the decision to buy the motorcycles for police patrols on campus, the press announcement mentions that they “run nearly silently” and are “easy to maneuver in traffic.” Not surprisingly, these new machines have their drawbacks: “Inclement winter weather may limit their functionality through the year.”

Given that we experience sporadic “inclement winter weather” for nearly six of the eight months that normal classes are in session at Penn State, one has to wonder whether this decision was a sound investment.

As a public institution and land-grant university, Penn State has to demonstrate to the citizens of Pennsylvania that it is spending its annual taxpayer appropriation wisely.

As tuition has skyrocketed from roughly $2,700 per semester in 1997 to more than $7,000 per semester for in-state students today, I am flabbergasted by this latest example of excess and waste at my university.

If our police officers are seeking to be more environmentally friendly — certainly a laudable goal — then why not cut back on cruiser patrols and increase bicycle patrols on campus?

Sustainable energy vehicles are a fantastic step forward, but at what cost are they coming to the students and taxpayers who ultimately are expected to cover the bills?

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