Student success coach Adriaunna Chambers discussed her Monday morning incident, feelings about the drawn-out process and reasoning behind her call to action.
The Slippery Rock student’s incident took place on her way to her first class of the week on the Happy Bus, SRU’s student government transportation service.
Chambers got on the yellow Happy Bus from the Building F stop at approximately 8:40 a.m. She sat on the second seat on the passenger’s side of the bus and noticed the bus was almost at total capacity after the Rock Apartments stop.
Between the stops at the Rock Apartments and Watson, Chambers stated that the bus driver had made a general mention to the passengers to make room for the onboarding students.
“I gestured to move by putting my bookbag on my lap,” she said. “I was on my phone, but I was aware of what was going on around me.”
This is when Chambers said the incident began.
“As we get ready to reach Watson, [the bus driver] stops the bus completely, comes to my seat, and she yells, ‘Move over,’” Chambers said.
Chambers responded, saying she was in the process of moving. Then she said the bus driver asked when she would.
“After she said that, she started putting her hands in my face.”
The bus driver moved back after Chambers requested she do so.
“Then she said, ‘Get up against the wall,’ and she’s yelling extremely loud,” she said. “I said I’m not getting against a wall- who are you talking to like that.”
The bus driver continued down the aisle to scan and ensure others were making room.
After the interaction, Chambers told The Rocket that she went to a private bathroom in her classroom building and cried.
“I cried until 9 o’clock when class started- I came in, sat down- it was maybe two minutes before I had to leave,” Chambers said.
Chambers went to the success coaching suite, where she works, to continue processing the event in a comfortable space. Her boss, Julie Ferringer discussed the situation, as she had heard about the interaction from a student who had witnessed the event.
Chambers visited the Office for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), who then issued a care referral to Student Support. She then went with Graduate Assistant Alexis Gish, who was on the same bus, to the Interim Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Patrick Beswick and Chief Student Affairs Officer, David Wilmes.
Chambers told Wilmes Monday about the situation that had taken place a few hours prior and addressed what she would like to see come from it.
“I really wanted her gone for the rest of the week because this was unacceptable and unprofessional,” she said. “I requested I get an apology from her and a statement from SGA acknowledging what happened.”
When asked about the interaction, Wilmes stated that for privacy issues, he could not be specific about the details of the processes following the exchange.
“We immediately contacted Campbell, who is the bus company that runs the Happy Bus through SGA,” Wilmes said. “We said the incident occurred, it was not appropriate and should not have happened—we asked if they could please remove the driver from the route until we had an opportunity to investigate the matter.”
Wilmes stated that he could not comment on the subject of outcomes but that action should be taken. According to Wilmes, Student Affairs also requested an apology on Chambers’ behalf.
“To ensure that sort of thing never happens again,” he said. “They [Campbell] have not said they’re not going to do those things.”
Chambers said she did not receive a care referral checkup from the Student Support office until after 2:30 on Thursday. An email from Maranda Stack came after Farringer followed up with Student Support on Chambers’ behalf.
Chambers released an Instagram video on Thursday night detailing her experience.
“The video is to call out the University, in a stance of, what are the stance of what are the repercussions when students are dehumanized,” Chambers said.
She mentioned that students are aware of our code of conduct and the repercussions when those lines are crossed.
“But what do we get when this happens to us?” Chambers said.
Chambers wants to post the video for the benefit of other students in similar situations.
“I want other students to know that you can speak up for yourself.”