This semester, the Office of Public Safety enlisted the help of more student ticketers to monitor parking infractions across campus.
Laura Durling, assistant director of administrative services for the Office of Public Safety, said the college employed more student parking enforcement members this semester to fill part-time job slots that were not previously covered by Public Safety officials. Since these employees were hired, Durling said the number of tickets has increased by nearly 2,000.
Durling said the college employed more students to ensure routine ticketing from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Many students have complained about the stricter enforcement and inability to find convenient spots on campus.
Despite student complaints, Durling said the purpose of having constant patrolling is to maintain parking lot enforcement.
“We monitor the parking lots for empty spaces at certain times of the day,” she said. “We have not been in a place where there is no parking on campus.”
Public Safety does an empty lot count to ensure there are enough parking spaces on campus and to make sure people park in their designated lots.
Freshman Justin Pyron, an SGA senator and student representative for Parking Policy and Appeals, said students are fairly ticketed.
“We read over the appeals we receive and then we vote on whether to accept the student’s appeal or deny their appeal,” he said. “The majority of them are denied because most are rules that they’ve broken and signed off on.”
While the student consensus is that there are fewer parking spots, Durling said the college is never filled to capacity.
“What people equate to ‘There’s no parking on campus’ is that there’s no parking possibly close to their building of preference,” she said. “[The spots] are not in the proximity to where people have to go to class or where faculty have to teach.”
Durling said the real parking problems come from Circle Apartments residents who already have reserved spots. She said they drive to class and leave more than 300 vacant spaces in the apartment lots.
Junior Jess Krogman, who lives off campus and received her first ticket in three years of having her car on campus, said the TCAT is inconvenient for students who live close to the Commons and for Circle Apartment residents. Krogman said she believes the slight inconvenience of the TCAT’s current route supplements the parking problem.
“It doesn’t even go to Circles,” she said. “So everyone who lives in Circles doesn’t want to walk, so they drive.”
Freshman JP Keenan said he noticed the college was particularly strict with its enforcement after ticketing officers doubled-over checking vehicle permits. One Wednesday afternoon, Keenan received two tickets and a verbal warning in the span of a few hours.
“I got a call in class saying, ‘Your car is now eligible to be towed at any time because you have so many parking tickets,’” he said. “Now I cannot park my car in Towers [lot] on weekends or it’s liable to be towed, and that’s until sophomore year.”
Junior Alexandra Bates, a SGA senator and Circle Apartment resident, said there have been more cars competing for spots on campus this semester because the college over-enrolled the incoming freshman class last year. As a result, sophomores who are no longer restricted to the freshmen parking lot have joined upperclassmen in the frenzy to find available spots on campus.
Since prohibiting on-campus residents from having parking permits is not a tangible reality, Bates said SGA is pushing a Vehicular Transportation Policy proposal, which would offer shuttles as alternative transportation to students.
Bates and sophomore SGA senator Nate McCoart are co-chairs of the VTP Proposal Committee and have taken on the project, which SGA has been making strides toward implementing for several years.
“These are things that the school wants to do,” Bates said. “[SGA is] just helping move it along.”
SGA hopes to present the proposal to the board of trustees this spring. The plan includes two similar routes from which bus companies could choose if approved.
Krogman said the parking trouble has been consistently problematic and she wants a solution.
“It’s been a big issue for a lot of my friends on campus,” she said. “People like me who have never gotten a ticket are now getting ticketed.”