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  • Lily Meline

Student Gets Hit by Iowa City Transit Bus, Only Gets 35% of Tuition Paid


Iowa City Transit bus

I’m sure the vast majority of University of Iowa students have heard the old myth about how if you’re hit and/or run over by the Cambus, the University’s Office of Student Financial Aid will have no choice but to pay your full tuition for you. Whether it was told as a fun tidbit from a tour guide or shared as a cautionary tale from an RA that witnesses three freshmen get themselves killed per week, it’s a common rumor whose origins extend beyond the existence of either me or you.


However, what if I told you, dear reader, that this humorous bit of University folklore is, in fact, 100% factual? That’s right, if you experience noticeable damage at the hands––or wheels, I suppose––of the University’s esteemed transportation service, you’ll be able to save yourself from the torturous reality of paying off student loans! Don’t believe me? Go ahead and try it out yourself! All of your friends are! Hell, I’ve tried doing it so many times that the bus drivers instinctively hit the brakes whenever I’m within 75 feet of a vehicle!


However, the Office of Student Financial Aid will only recognize your bus-induced injury if the perpetrating bus is one under the University’s jurisdiction. If you get pancaked by one of the Iowa City buses, the University has nothing to do with it and will leave you to fend for yourself.


Forty years ago, the University of Iowa had official guidelines saying that if you got seriously injured by a bus that wasn’t within their jurisdiction, a representative of the school would be sent to point and laugh at you as you were wheeled into surgery. This legislation was retired after the hired representative sustained fatal injuries from being run over by a scooter. Still, the rule of not extending sympathy to the non-Cambus victims remained. After all, it seemed only reasonable, didn’t it?


Unfortunately, some imbecilic schmuck didn’t get their facts straight. On the morning of Sunday, September 17, 2023, Mandy Parsnips was taking a stroll, planning to get a pre-breakfast snack at Molly’s Cupcakes. She made sure not to cross the street until she heard a calming voice telling her that the “WALK SIGN IS ON ACROSS CLINTON,” and she looked both ways (twice) before stepping out into the street. She was humming to herself contentedly when suddenly the Iowa City Transit bus came barrelling down the road at 87 miles an hour, hitting Parsnips with a strong enough velocity to launch her onto the roof of the Old Capitol building.


For three hours, she called for someone to come and save her, for with two broken arms and three broken legs, she didn’t have any way to climb down. Once it became evident that no one was traveling to the Pentacrest on a weekend, she managed to fling herself into a nearby tree. Luckily, upon falling to the ground, she only broke three more ribs.


Parsnip’s medical bills were steep, to say the least. Even with her health insurance plan, the price for surgery, physical therapy, cast molding, and in-house dining was roughly equivalent to tuition for a full semester. When asked if she wanted to sue Iowa City Transit, she stated that she wasn’t willing to risk hiring a lawyer for a suit she might not even win. After all, people show up with eighteen broken limbs on the Pentacrest all time, and the only witnesses of the incident were the bus driver and the ghost passengers.


“The only consolation from this whole mess,” she told the Doily Allergen, “is that I’ll at least get my tuition paid off by the University.”


“Isn’t that principle only applicable to Cambus, and not Iowa City Transit?” I asked rhetorically since I already knew the answer, but this bitch clearly didn’t.


“Well, I was on campus when it happened, and I’m a registered student, so I think that should be good enough.”


Evidently, the Office of Student Financial Aid didn’t agree with this sentiment. After receiving Parsnip’s claim for monetary compensation, the head of the Office of Student Financial Aid sent a notice informing her that “[her] broke ass is out of luck lol get gud.”


Parsnips, infuriated by this injustice, sent out a mass email to every student at the University––a skill she’d acquired as a women’s swim team TA––to go on a UBill strike until her tuition could be covered. Since college students already hate having to spend money, her request was happily met by the student body. By the time September’s UBill needed to be paid, every student abstained from spending their hard-earned money on a school willing to let a poor student in a full-body cast continue to pay to go there.


The Office of Student Financial Aid tried to explain that what Iowa City Transit did was beyond their jurisdiction. The students weren’t having it, so when faced with bankruptcy, the University came to an agreement with Parsnips to have 35% of her tuition paid off, as well as receive a portion of this year’s Dance Marathon proceeds. Finally satisfied, Parsnips agreed to the terms.


You know, there’s an important lesson to glean from this. I don’t know what it is, though. Happy Rosh Hashanah!

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