Students around campus are noticing much more frequently the all too familiar orange envelope slipped beneath their windshield wipers as they approach their cars here on campus.
In regards to this increased ticketing, Director of Public Safety Todd Pelazza stated that he has not seen this increased distribution in parking infraction issuances. “I do not have the current data, however I do not feel that there has been a tremendous increase in the number of parking tickets issued this year. We do enforce our parking policies on a regular basis.”
Pelazza noted as a side that most tickets distributed here on campus are issued to vehicles that are either completely unregistered to park here on campus, or vehicles that have parked in areas for which they are not permitted.
Students such as Katie DeStefano ’16 disagree with this, however. “I think that students have definitely been ticketed more frequently,” DeStefano stated. She continued to comment on instances where students came from off campus and could not find parking spaces in the busy non-resident parking lots. This is something characteristic of the height of the day. Often in these cases, frustrated students park in lots they are unpermitted to park in order to make it to class on time.
Senior Valeria Aguillon stated in regards to these crowded parking lots, “I feel like the parking situation is not well-thought out. The number of commuter students far outnumbers the number of parking spaces. It’s absurd,” Aguillon added, “I think the ticketing is heavy and most of the time it is extremely unfair.”
DeStefano added that often it is beach students who are hurt by these crowded lots, having to park in a random spaces in order to make it to class.
Pelazza replied in reference to this, “We have designated lots for both residents and non-residents. It is extremely important that our community adhere to these policies in order to have available parking areas. My question is why are students frustrated if they are parking in unauthorized areas and then receive a ticket. Student need to plan accordingly to get to class on time.”
DeStefano argues on this point that the University often closes parking lots for various events without giving students notice. She feels in these situations that students had no way of planning accordingly. “There was no notification for when the library lot closed last week. Students had no way to prepare to get to class early and even if they did, all the lots were full and they would be ticketed for parking in lots different than their sticker. In these situations you can’t penalize kids for getting to class … there should be exceptions for these kinds of days.”
Meditz Hall residents, like DeStefano, are not the only students affected by parking policy at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, however. Senior Kristin Torres, a resident of 47 Mahan Road, said, “The situation we have with the Mahan small lot and the Quick Center is unfair. If we park any further than the dotted line we get ticketed because of the Quick Center events. But, when the Quick Center has events, they can park on our side of the line and take up our spots and send us to Faber.”
Torres continued to explain how the policy for ticketing at the Quick Center is more of a hindrance to the students than the University realizes. Describing the inconvenience she has experienced as a result of these parking restraints, Torres said she’s often had to walk through the rain while carrying groceries just to get to her apartment since she can’t park near Mahan.
Torres feels that students do not receive priority in these matters, noting that students get ticketed for things that Quick Center attendees would never be ticketed for. “They claim it’s because the people going to the Quick Center are paying to see an event. I pay $120 for the year to park; that’s a little more than their $5 — maybe $20 — for a ticket to an event,” she added.
These students are not alone in their opinions. Junior Coleman Macuch is also dissatisfied with the University’s parking regulations here on campus. In particular, he mentions how parking is inconvenient, in that students living in Meditz have to walk across the campus to get to their cars. “I am a junior living in Meditz and I have to park in Regis across campus. I pay the same parking price as juniors who live in Dolan and the Townhouses, and get to have their car right outside of their house,” stated Macuch.
This was not Macuch’s only grievance, however: “I am most upset about the parking tickets given out. I have received three parking tickets this year. What is worse is that all of the tickets say ‘unappealable.’ There should be no parking tickets on the weekends, as there are no professors that need the spots.” Macuch added that he believes these tickets are a way to simply get money out of students, which he deems “ridiculous because of how much we are paying to go here.”
According to Anya Cullen ‘17, the administration of tickets, as well as the policy for appealing these tickets needs to change. “I feel that DPS officers are much too quick to give out tickets. For example, I brought my car to campus about a week into September and had class all morning the next day. By 1 p.m., I had two tickets for an unregistered vehicle.” Cullen continued to explain her frustrating experience in the appeal process. “I had to fill out a form to explain in detail what I was appealing and why and they go over it and decide whether it’s worth appealing. I explained that I came at my first opportunity to register my car. My appeal was denied and I was told that I should follow the rules better next time in a letter. I thought that was unfair.”
Cullen also felt that these increased ticket prices are unethical: “It seems like it is becoming less about enforcing parking and more about making a profit off college students.”
According to University provided statistics, full-time fall enrollment in 2010 totaled 3,777 students. This number increased significantly by 2015, when the University reported 4,217 full-time students.
Some students have their own ideas on how to revise the parking policy on campus. Junior Aisha Khan offered, “I think that after 5 p.m., everyone should be able to park anywhere.” Students like Khan find that this method would make use of empty faculty and non-resident lots during the night and aid students like Macuch, who are frustrated with the distance they have to park from their residence halls.
“As the school is rapidly growing and accepting more students, they are going to need more parking to accommodate everyone if they are not going to make the already existing lots available for all students,” added DeStefano.
Cullen agreed as well, that parking spaces should be increased, stating, “We pay so much to go here, we should be able to park near our classrooms at least. We do not have priority as students in regards to parking.”
Pelazza identified that the University is looking into solutions to alleviate some parking related issues such as this overcrowded nature. According to Pelazza, “The University is considering the construction of a parking facility to increase the number of available spaces on campus” and that this project “is in the beginning of the planning stage.”