Rapid driver removed

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
Buses wait outside of Kirkhoff on the Grand Valley State University

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills Buses wait outside of Kirkhoff on the Grand Valley State University

Samantha Butcher

Earlier this month, a Rapid bus driver was removed from Grand Valley State University routes after a student complained that he made suggestive remarks to her while she was riding the Campus Connector.

Karissa Dyda, a GVSU junior, complained to the Rapid on Oct. 6 after driver Stan Gay made a comment to her that she felt was “inappropriate.” Dyda, who was wearing flip-flops when the incident occurred, said Gay made the comment when she first boarded the bus.

“I was getting on the bus, and I’d had this bus driver many times before,” she explained. “I was the first one to step on the bus, and he points to my feet and goes, ‘Who’s the lucky guy who gets to kiss and suck on those things? I wish I was him.’ I didn’t even know what to say.”

Dyda filed a complaint with the Rapid because she was afraid Gay might harass other students.

“I was nervous to say something, but I thought it could happen to other people too so I wanted to take care of it before it happened to somebody else,” she said.

Dyda said she asked the Rapid to assign the driver to a different route. The Rapid opened an investigation into the incident, but Jennifer Kalczuk, external relations manager for the Rapid, said she could not comment on what that investigation process entailed.

“We don’t discuss our internal procedures,” she said. “We investigate complaints and based on the determination, whatever seems appropriate from there happens.”

The next week, Dyda saw the driver again and took her complaint to President Thomas J. Haas. Within days, Gay was taken off of Route 50.

Kalczuk said she could not disclose whether there were any previous complaints filed against Gay.

Lisa Haynes, assistant vice president of operations on Pew Campus, said the issue was dealt with according to university policy.

“If a student complains to us, we address student complaints,” she said. “I believe that the Rapid addressed whatever complaint that student had.”

Although Gay has removed from Route 50, Dyda said she is still uncomfortable riding the bus.

“I feel relieved that it’s been taken care of, but I’m still kind of upset that I had to go to such an extreme to get something done,” Dyda said. “I feel like (the Rapid) should have taken into consideration what happened. It’s not that much to ask them to change his bus route. I wasn’t asking for him to be fired. I’d never felt uncomfortable before, but even now I don’t feel comfortable riding the bus because I don’t trust the Rapid. I still have this fear that I’m going to see him again.”

Last year, 2.6 million people rode on GVSU buses, up from 2.4 million the previous year. A total of 20 buses run on five different routes.

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