On the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 28, the Department of Public Safety sent out an alert to students informing them that the parking policy had changed. The text read: “In accordance with the new DPS Chronic Violator Parking Policy, vehicles will be immobilized upon the 3rd violation. Any subsequent violations will result in the vehicle being towed. Students must park in their assigned location. The vehicle will be towed at his/her expense if found in violation.”
Students who commit parking violations will receive a ticket charging them $0, and after the third ticket their car will be immobilized using a wheel lock and they will be charged $50 for removal. If the student does not pay the $50 fine after 24 hours their car will be towed. The car will also be towed upon the fourth ticket incurred.
“Legislation was passed at the end of last year preventing private properties from issues parking infractions. This included Fairfield University, as well as other private higher ed institutions in the state. As a result of our inability to fine violators, compliance has become a major issue throughout campus. It is anticipated that this law will be amended in the spring, at which time we will return to the previous policies that were in place,” said Associate Director of Public Safety Frank Ficko when asked about why the new policy was put in place. When asked what violations are most frequent, Ficko responded, “The parking violation most frequently abused is parking in areas other than the designated colored decal assigned to that vehicle. For example, if you were issued a ‘yellow decal,’ you may only park in yellow designated parking lots.”
Many students are upset about the change in policy and feel that it is unfair. Senior Kaitlyn Nelson said about the new policy, “Most of my concerns with the parking on campus come with the fact that more parking passes were passed out to Juniors when there are no spots for them in the Mahan/Quick Center lots. Since the new parking passes came out the seniors who live in Mahan and Meditz have had a much harder time finding any parking, leading us to park where our stickers do not allow and then parking tickets.”
Nelson continued, “Additionally, many of my female friends do not feel comfortable walking alone from the Faber parking lot late at night when you cannot cut through the building. The road from the Faber lot to Mahan/Meditz is not well lit and isolated. Additionally, with any event that happens in the Quick Center lot, people attending the event are free to park anywhere in the lot, taking up the majority of the student spaces before they are seemingly allowed to illegally park.”
Many students share Nelson’s confusion, as when DPS originally handed out the tickets many students were confused about the policy and were unclear on how many tickets would result in towing. Furthermore, Nelson’s comment highlighted the issue of the lack of parking on campus as well as legitimate reasons for parking outside of one’s designated zones.
When asked whether the new policy would be more effective than the last, Ficko responded, “It is hoped that stricter enforcement efforts will help regain compliance and the ability to effectively manage parking on campus. We ask all members of the community to please drive safely, avoid the inconvenience of having their vehicles immobilized or towed, and to park only in areas designated by their parking decals.”