Editorial: Student parking still an issue

The campus parking conundrum saw a glimpse of a miniscule glimmering hope with the Nursing and Health Sciences Building opening.

With the addition of the 15 parking spots behind the building – nine available for students, one of which designated for an alternative fuel vehicle, and two for the handicapped – is a lackluster and feeble addition to better the current parking conditions; a glimmering hope nonetheless, but miniscule.

University administrators’ plans to improve parking have rarely materialized, with the precedent of the canceled basketball court conversion along Student Union Drive, their conviction to better and improve seemed absent. Perhaps the reason is that the highest-level administrators have designated  individual parking spots, making them unperceptive of the problem.

If there are plans on the way to improve what students perceive as a major problem in their lives, we had certainly not heard of it.

But should university officials be held responsible entirely? Not quite.

During a student government meeting two weeks ago, according to student senator Luke Trotz, it was estimated that, with the number of student parking passes given out, the campus should have had a surplus of more than a hundred parking spots.

It could only be surmised that too many students, who had been parking on campus lots consistently, had not been forthright by purchasing parking passes as they should.

The deserving few who get caught, consequently, are fined by campus police officers. It goes two ways: students who have parking passes, but parked in an illegal spot, are fined just around $15, and getting caught for a few times a semester, many of these students consider the fines to be worth parking outside the rules. Those who are caught and are without a parking pass are fined $85, the pass price, and they scratch their noses and consider it bad luck.

But what is appalling is that these fines are often left unpaid, as there are no bans and limits on registration, and students graduate and go on their merry ways in the real world avoiding campus parking rules.

But should the students be held responsible entirely? Also not quite.

Most students who illegally park on campus would say that they do not purchase parking passes because they would not be able to find an available spot anyway.

It is a vicious cycle, but not unsolvable.

There would always be people who dare to take their chances with parking illegally, and to combat that, administrators should take a step forward and two steps back.

Campus police officers and university administrators should be more aggressive monitoring illegally parked vehicles, and, at the same time, draft plans to create more parking spots.