The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Fan bus canceled; campus mourns

Student Body President Michelle Murphy blinked back tears after deciding to cancel the fan bus that would have taken Eastern students to Nashville, Tenn. Murphy canceled the fan bus Tuesday afternoon after having only three students sign up.

The fan bus, which was supposed to hold at least 55 people, did not receive the response Murphy and other Student Senate members were hoping for.

The fan bus required Eastern students to pay $35 that would have paid for the bus ride, game tickets, a hotel room, a game day T-shirt and a free meal.

“After a full day and a half of sign-up, when I only had three people sign up, it was heart breaking,” said Murphy, a senior communication studies major.

It was hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on a trip when there was not adequate support, she said.

Ashley Hoogstraten, the student vice president of business affairs and the chairwoman of the Apportionment Board, said the canceling of the Nashville bus came as a surprise to her.

Hoogstraten had an impromptu AB meeting after the Student Senate approved a $2,000 allocation sending Murphy and the resolution writers to AB.

“I figured it was in the better interest of the student body that (Apportionment Board) did let it go through,” said Hoogstraten, a senior communication studies major.

The $2,000 will go directly back to AB’s reserve account.

Now, Hoogstraten said she wished the fan bus advertising had been better.

“I felt like – the way she pushed it – through it was almost her job to make sure the bus got filled,” she said. “This was a really good opportunity for students to come out on support without spending a lot of money.”

Hoogstraten said the lack of Eastern support at Nashville could have a negative impact on the way Eastern women’s basketball team plays on March 3-5.

“I feel like she kinda let everyone down,” Hoogstraten said. “It looks bad on our part.”

Ed Hotwagner, a senior mathematics major, is Panther Nation’s spirit chair and one of the first people Murphy contacted to notify of the cancellation.

“Michelle called to me to say take down the posters,” Hotwagner said.

Hotwagner said he was disappointed student government had to cancel the trip.

“Only so many people are willing to pay $35 and go to Nashville during the school week,” he said.

Dion Martorano, a senior communication studies major, was one of three students to sign up to go on the Nashville bus.

“It’s disappointing because I thought it would be a cheap and easy way to get to Nashville,” Martorano said.

Martorano has taken a fan bus provided by student government two times before and still plans to go, even if it costs him more than before.

“I already talked to my teachers and they said it was okay,” he said.

Ryan Gilmore, director of marketing and promotions for the athletic department, and Murphy met Tuesday and decided to comp tickets for Eastern students that have Panther Nation cards. Game tickets cost $5 per tournament.

Murphy said she would probably still be going to support the women’s basketball team.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of planning and I don’t think people can blame this school apathy on me,” she said. “It would be hard for me to believe if somebody said a few more posters would have made a difference – I don’t buy it.”

Murphy said while the trip is fun for the students, the sense of support for the basketball team is essential.

It is not the players fault and it is disappointing that they will not have anyone to cheer them on and it is a shame they will have to go to Tennessee without the amount of support that the other teams will have, Murphy said.

“I thought it was my job to make everyone love Eastern as much as I do and I guess that if that was my job then I’m not doing a very good job at it,” Murphy said.

Nike Ogunbodede can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

Fan bus canceled; campus mourns

Fan bus canceled; campus mourns

The fan bus to the Ohio Valley Conference Championships in Nashville, Tenn. has been canceled because of lack of interest. Only four tickets were purchased for the package. (Photo illustration by Kimberly Foster)


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