SGA delays contract with transport company Uber

Hannah Shaffer

The Student Government Association continues the debate surrounding WKU’s partnering with Uber. 

In late August, Uber brought its services to Bowling Green after garnering success in Lexington and Louisville.

Uber attempted to make a contract with WKU — more specifically, with SGA — to persuade WKU to endorse Uber’s services. This contract was proposed through Charley Pride, the director of Student Activities.

“Nothing has been signed yet,” Pride said.

This contract would allow an office like SGA at WKU to give out cards for free rides worth up to $20 for first-time users. With the use of these cards, SGA or any program that had been delegated by SGA to give out the cards would receive $5 as a reward for endorsing Uber. 

The reason the contract was considered was because Uber could offer safe and convenient transportation throughout Bowling Green, according to SGA President Jay Todd Richey.

Richey said he personally went back and forth between whether or not Uber was a good idea for WKU. 

“It’s naked capitalism,” said Richey. “It doesn’t have to adhere to regulation.” 

Although Uber will provide its services to Hilltoppers as well as the Bowling Green community, Richey said neither WKU nor SGA helped bring Uber to town. 

According to Uber’s website, anyone can be a driver for Uber as long as that person passes the required background check, is at least 21 years old and has a car model from the year 2000 or after. These driver qualifications mean signing the contract could lead to liability issues within the university. 

When asked about the liability issue, Monroe County senior Evan Brown, who is considering being an Uber driver, said any job has the potential for liabilities.

“Anyone working as an independent contractor has certain liabilities,” said Brown. “It’s a risk you take, but so do many other entrepreneurs.”

Uber proposed this contract before the Student Senate met for the first time. Pride mentioned, though, that the contract would not have been decided only within the senate. 

The decision then defaulted to Pride. The main problem found was in the insurance policy. Because of liability issues, Pride advised against signing the contract. 

“One of the stipulations of the contract is covering the insurance wise or there’s an indemnity clause,” Pride said.

Because the indemnity clause would put WKU at fault for any issues students would come across with Uber, the contract has not been signed. 

Brad Wheeler, the assistant vice president of resources management, is currently in the process of reworking the contract with an Uber representative.