By Kaie Quigley – Features Editor
The parking office offered temporary parking permits to all resident students for the spring semester in an effort to exhibit leniency amidst the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, this system has created more stress than it has relieved over the last few months.
The office also removed all eligibility requirements, meaning first-years could now park on campus and take spots from students who have more credits, have paid more dollars in tuition, and have off-campus responsibilities.
According to the registrar’s office, there are 266 resident parking spaces on campus. Pre-pandemic, the school housed around 1,200 students. This semester, there are 714. The number of students has gone down, but the number of parking spaces hasn’t. There are still more students than spots, so why open parking up even more?
The university does have available options in which students can control where they park. Traditional parking registration is seniority based, and students can hand pick their lot based on availability. So, if students want to choose which lot they park in, that system can be used. However, if the office was trying to adhere to the needs of resident students, they should have kept parking registration open so students could pick the lot that worked best for them. Instead, they had residents gamble hundreds of dollars on a pass that in my case, was for a lot a half-mile away from my housing.
On top of this, students receive tickets and fines for parking in open spaces closer to where they live. Not only does the office charge 275 dollars per pass, they charge 50 dollars per ticket. Personally, this leaves me with an embarrassingly tough decision some days— do I want to walk this half-mile back to my room at 10 p.m. or should I try my luck in a closer lot and hope it doesn’t cost me 50 bucks? In most cases I end up crossing my fingers, much like I did in the first place.
Long story short, this is an unfair position to put residential students in. Employees that get paid by the university often get to park in close proximity to the place they teach and work. Therefore, a student that pays tuition should be able to park close to where they sleep at night.