Finding a parking spot on campus can be a hassle if you are in a hurry. It can also be a hassle if you aren’t – students, staff and faculty alike have had trouble finding parking spaces over the years and this semester is no exception as we are all aware.
What is exceptional about this constant headache for commuters and even those who live on campus is that whether consciously or unconsciously, the lack of avaliable parking looks like its by design.
According to David DeVoss, chief of the Murray State Police, last semester there were 6,969 parking spaces across campus (all tags included) while 7,527 parking permits were issued to faculty, staff and students.
That’s a difference of 558. While we understand that not everyone on campus is actually on campus at the same time, in theory if they were, we would be talking about a situation in which there simply were not enough parking spaces for everyone issued a permit by Public Safety.
That is a problem. It’s not only a problem for those looking for a parking space, but fundamentally it raises questions about why so many parking permits are being issued when there are not enough parking spaces to go around.
Is it a cynical way of making money from parking tickets? Enforcement is a big issue when it comes to parking on campus, especially as the number of students enrolled increases.
As anyone who has gotten a parking ticket on campus will tell you (and as far as the appeals process goes) there are a lot of instances in which parking in the wrong zone goes untouched while others are written tickets. This, combined with the confusion that can lead to visitors to the University being charged for parking in visitor spaces without having a visitor permit, creating yet another headache for students trying to find a parking space on campus.
What can be done? Short of printing fewer permits (which could cause even more problems for students who might attend class every other day), the only solution is to expand the number of parking spots avaliable.
What about the cost associated with building a parking garage, or paving new parking lots? University officials might claim that the budget just wouldn’t allow such an expenditure, but we shouldn’t forget that just last year, University officials were pushing a library on campus that would in all likelihood have eclipsed the costs of another parking lot quite easily.
Short of new parking spaces, we would like to see some consistency in parking enforcement. Students, staff and faculty deserve fairness and due process, not confusion.
The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.