In recent news, a University of South Carolina (USC) student, Samantha Josephson, entered a vehicle during the early hours one morning, believing the ride to be her Uber. Unfortunately, the vehicle was not her expected ride home, and instead, the driver committed a senseless act that resulted in Josephson’s death.
In response, USC’s President, Harris Pastides, sent a letter to students, urging them to take a pledge of safety. The goal is for students, at USC and across the country, to pledge they will never get into a rideshare service without first asking the driver of the vehicle, “What’s my name?” In his letter, Pastides recommended verifying that the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle match what is listed in the rideshare app, and the driver’s photo matches the person in the vehicle. Additionally, asking the driver, “What’s my name?”, should not raise any issues as this information is provided to rideshare drivers.
The social media hashtag, #WhatsMyName, went viral and was supported by the Josephson’s parents, her sorority and social media users across the country. Also, less than two weeks after the student’s tragic death, the South Carolina House passed a bill, 99-1, that will require rideshare vehicles to display illuminated signs to make it much easier for users to spot their ride. The “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act” bill was co-sponsored by South Carolina Rep. Seth Rose and Rep. Micah Caskey. “This legislation creates an initial step by which someone should be able to start the process of verifying that a rideshare is in fact their vehicle,” said Rose.
Leadership takes on many forms and deals with a plethora of initiatives and responsibilities. The CPT applauds Pastides and the South Carolina House for their swift actions and take-charge spirit. It is crucial for students and all young adults to have role models and to see ethical, responsible leaders doing what is right and just. Doing so is not always easy, but it is necessary. To students everywhere, continue striving to be ethical leaders who ensure the world is a better place.
-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist