There are few things more frustrating than approaching your car and seeing that slip of paper under your windshield wiper.
Yes, I am talking about the dreaded parking ticket.
What is even further agonizing is that in order to register for classes, one has to pay them or else they will be prohibited from doing so. As a student, it is difficult to see the correlation between parking tickets and registration. That said, it is difficult to criminalize Public Safety for the matter.
Shanon Grasso, the officer who oversees parking and transportation, has unpaid tickets stacked up on her desk waiting for filing. Some students have as much as six unpaid tickets. With an average of 500 parking tickets per week, she acknowledged paying tickets needed to be an incentive.
“It’s not about generating revenue for the school,” Grasso said. “It’s about changing the behaviors of the way we park here. They don’t think there is a seriousness behind this until I put the hold on your account and they ignore them until it’s time to register.”
She attributed the exorbitant number of tickets to students not reading the rules and regulations for parking, coupled with a short staff to hand out tickets. With some not being punished, others followed suit and became confused and frustrated when they were fined.
Grasso also noted her hold goes beyond registration. It can bar students from receiving transcripts, putting money on your QCard and other functions students eventually find necessary.
Parking protocol, however, has come into question as class sizes gradually increased. Not all students can be accommodated for limited parking spaces. With specific stickers comes different stigmas.
Grasso stated Westwoods cars are associated with trying to violate parking on main campus as so many did the first semester. Likewise, York Hill juniors tend to park in senior parking in North Lot.
In reality, it is about trying to find convenience in an inconvenient system and being fined for it. Better parking conditions would alleviate the violations Public Safety tries to curtail by issuing parking tickets. Honestly, I fail to see the problem with parking overnight in an empty Hogan lot the day before winter break. Yet, I received a $40 ticket for doing so.
Over time, the money becomes hard for any college student to pay all at once, but must be done if you want to register for classes or satisfy other student-based means.
For registration to be an affected area means fines an already expensive process . Students already have to pay tuition to be in classes, which comes at a high price as is. For full-time students, tuition and fees comes in at $40,670 and covers 12-16 credits. Say you have to take an extra course, that’s another $930 tacked on to the bill. Add on loans and it becomes a stressful price for students as is.
All this said, Public Safety is not out to get us. They did provide means to erase these steep deficits. Before Christmas, students could donate a toy in exchange for clearing their parking tickets from the system.
In addition, Grasso acknowledged changes are coming and also wishes there was a way to make it so Public Safety wouldn’t be forced to hand out tickets.
“I would rather see people do what they need to, or just not bring a car here at all,” Grasso said. “It’s possible.”
To provide student insight, a few ideas could provide temporary fixes. Firstly, punish multiple offenders with loss of their parking permit if tickets go unpaid. Secondly, those who feasibly need vehicles, like students with kitchens in their dorms, should have preference. With a limited meal plan, groceries are essential and having a vehicle eliminates the inconvenience of accommodating to the shuttle.
Without a doubt, the parking situation is in need of fixing and both students and Public Safety realize it. While registration certainly catches the attention of students, it also taxes an already expensive sector of student life. As changes are made, tension between Public Safety and students will diminish.