By: Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer and Social Media Editor
A common joke, or even urban legend, on many college campuses, is that if a student is hit by a car on campus they will receive free tuition– but the logistics of the law indicate otherwise.
Junior nursing student Delaney Brehm said that she will make jokes about getting hit herself; “I do think that it is real. I believe that if a student or even a teacher was struck by a campus vehicle that there should be some sort of compensation for it.”
Brehm has seen articles on sites like Snapchat and Facebook with students claiming to have received free college after such an accident. She even reflected on an incident in her own life remembering a student she attended grade school with who was “hit by a NYSEG truck while riding his bike home from school and now gets $100,000 a year for the rest of his life”. So I feel like it has to have some truth to it when it comes to a college student getting hit on campus, especially by a school vehicle.” Brehm believes that the school should be held responsible for any bodily harm towards students on campus by St. John Fisher Campus vehicles.
However, Business professor and former lawyer, Dr. David Kunsch said that the logistics of it all would be a little more complicated. According to Kunsch, if a student was to be injured by a campus vehicle on campus a police report would be filed first and the school would call their insurance. If that student was sent to the hospital or required any medical attention, the school’s insurance would actually cover those medical bills.
But, with insurance involved, the school would not bear the majority of those costs. With insurance policies comes a deductible – meaning the school has already decided the maximum amount of money they would be required to pay and what the insurance company would be responsible for. A high deductible would have a lower monthly payment, and vice versa. Kunsch says the only way he could see the school actually giving a student “free” tuition after an accident is if the deductible was so high that it would be cheaper for the school to allow free attendance than to pay out of pocket for the deductible.
For the school to give the student $25,000 in cash would likely cost the school more than to allow one student free attendance. Once the deductible is met, the money and where it comes from is up to the insurance. It is unknown what the schools current insurance deductible is, but it is likely not this high. Kunsch also clarified that if the school was able to prove that a student purposely threw themselves in front of the bus, they could refuse to pay anything as it would be self-inflicted.
Brock Glann, Assistant Director of Campus Safety and Security, said in a statement that while an event like this would be a terrible tragedy, the school takes “many steps to prevent incidents like this, and we will continue to work proactively to prevent anything like this from happening.”
Safeguards such as a 15 mph speed limit on campus, stop signs, and flashing yellow “yield to pedestrian” signs across campus are also in place. If necessary, Safety and Security can give moving violations’ for any vehicle driving “recklessly or erratically.” “Our response in Security is mostly from the point of prevention, so every step and action we take is to prevent a serious incident from happening on campus,” Glann said.
For many students like Brehm the belief that the school would be held financially accountable if a student was to be injured has been an enduring one. However, when the rubber hits the road this myth will likely not hold up in the court of law.