UPDATE: AMU Students Scramble for Buses to Washington after Last-Minute Cancelation
Published on Thursday, 19 January 2012 23:45
A large contingent of Ave Maria University students will be traveling Washington, DC, this weekend for the March for Life, but they had to scramble after their plans were thrown into disarray when a charter bus company based in Virginia reneged at the last minute on its commitment to supply three buses for the trip.
The group now is raising money to defray the additional cost of the trip.
The AMU Students for Life group paid the Charter Bus R Us company of Springfield, VA, $18,500 in advance to pick the students up at 6 p.m. Friday and bring the group back Tuesday, Jan. 24.
Trip organizer Joshua Johanni said the company received the check for the trip Jan. 13, and cashed it, but then did not returned any of his calls or emails seeking to confirm arrangements. After not communicating with him for six days, he said he received an email early Thursday morning telling him the trip was canceled, with no explanation. Subsequent calls to the charter company have not been returned. The company also did not return a call from The Ave Herald.
Money for the trip was raised through fundraisers and paid directly by the students. Now, it is not clear when -- or even if -- the students will get the money back. University President Jim Towey said appropriate law enforcement organizations are being notified.
Late Thursday, AMU Vice President for Student Life Dan Dentino said that they were able to secure alternative transportation from AMC Transportation Services of Orlando, FL.
Dr. Dentino said the students now are actively raising money to help pay for the trip, which he estimated to be an additional $25,000.
"They calling friends and family to help," Mr. Dentino said, "but whatever they can't raise the university will help out with."
"This is such an important activity for the students. We had to do something."
Dr. Dentino said that anyone interested in contributing to this effort should get in touch with Rachel Decker in the university's institutional advancement department. Her email is
and she can be reached by phone through the AMU switchboard at 239-280--2500.
Ave Maria University has traditionally had a sizeable contingent of students at the March for Life in Washington, and this year's group will be the school's largest delegation yet.
"When you have 155 students prepared to travel for days, sleep on a wooden gym floor in Virginia, to do this, then we feel an obligation to make this work," Mr. Towey said.