Patrick Coskren ’13, Staff Writer
Before this week I was among the students on campus who felt that police ticket excessively and in some cases unreasonably. After speaking with Ron Guilmette, chief of Police Services, I can say my opinion has completely changed.
It is not a ticketing problem, but the ignorance of students that is to blame.
Guilmette referred to the parking/ticketing situation a several times as “a numbers game.” To elaborate on this, allow me to discuss the number of spots available for student parking.
The Sakowich campus lot has 258 spots available for commuter, faculty and staff parking. In addition to the campus lot, commuters, faculty, and staff, are also permitted to park in the Rogers lot and Deegan West lot, which have fewer than 50 spaces between the two of them. Students who are residents are permitted to park in the back lots of the campus near the apartments; this lot has 670 parking spaces.
We see people being ticketed in the Sakowich, Deegan, and Rogers lots when residents who do not feel like walking to class on cold or rainy days take up the spots reserved for commuters, faculty, and staff.
In addition to residents parking illegally, there are also many people parking in these lots who do not have a sticker at all.
The decal process is quite simple: If you are a commuter you can go to Police Services and receive a decal for free. If you are a resident student at the beginning of the year, the price of a decal is $150 for the year. As the year goes on Police Services will discount the cost. If you buy a decal after the winter break (for the second semester) you will be charged $75. If you were to request a decal for the remaining four weeks of school you could obtain one by paying about $35.
As we all know the Sakowich lot is not the only parking lot where students get ticketed. There are many other places around the campus with 15-minute parking. Just this past week two students had their cars towed because they were in 15-minute parking overnight.
It must be made clear that the tow policy Guilmette has implemented since he has arrived is more than reasonable. You are allowed to have three parking violation before you hear from him; on your fourth violation you will receive an email, in addition to your vehicle having been “stickered” with a “Notice of Tow,” which means that for any and all future violations your vehicle will be towed from the campus at your expense.
This means that before your car is towed you will have accumulated four violations, and received an email from the chief. This seems more than reasonable.
After speaking with Guilmette I personally walked up and down the first 80 cars in the Sakowich lot. Suffice it to say I was quite surprised. There were 20 cars with no stickers at all, five residents, 22 commuters, and 28 faculty members parked in the lot. That means that over 31 percent of the cars I looked at were parked illegally, and 25 percent did not even have decals at all.
The reason this topic seems to arise every spring is because all the tickets that were accumulated over the fall semester carry over to the spring. This means that if you received three tickets in the fall and you receive one in the spring, your car will be “stickered” along with receiving an email from the chief. Over the summer the tickets accumulated during the year are “forgotten,” and everyone enters the following fall with a clean slate.
However, this doesn’t mean that after your fifth ticket and your car being towed, you start over. If you get a sixth ticket, your call will be towed. If you get a seventh ticket, your car will be towed, and so on.
At the end of the day many students who complain to Police Services saying “Are you serious? You don’t have anything better to do than ticket me?” are the ones to blame, not police. Had you parked where you were supposed to in the first place, you would not have been ticketed in the first place.