Common misconceptions about parking lead to confusion on campus
Between January and August, the Southeast Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported 15,936 parking violations.
Director of Public Safety and Transit Beth Glaus suggested most violations sprout from misunderstandings about parking policies.
“Confusion is a relative experience people have,” Glaus said.
Glaus cleared up confusion about parking policies and began by stressing “all on-campus parking is by permit.”
“If students don't have any kind of parking permit on their car, there is a great risk that they’re going to park on campus and get a ticket,” Glaus explained
Glaus added she believes many students don't take the time to read parking policies for their permits, which leads to a large part of the confusion.
One policy that may be a gray area for students is parking after 5 p.m.
Glaus confirmed only students who hold a permit are permitted to park in any academic building parking section after 5 p.m. This policy, however, does not apply to residence halls, which Glaus noted are not considered academic buildings.
Buildings such as Kent Library are shared with the general public, so parking spots there are open to anyone with or without a permit after 5 p.m.
Glaus said this distinction in the policy between academic buildings and residence halls could be the root of the confusion among ticketed students.
Students may be under the impression meters are only available for use Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Glaus cleared up confusion quickly stating, “After five it's just a regular space in the lot.”
She said students with or without a parking permit are welcome to use metered parking as long as they pay the meter Monday through Friday 8 to 5 p.m. Parking at a meter without payment on Saturday or Sunday would require a parking permit for the respective lot.
Glaus stated some parking meters on campus are 24 hours.
Students often express their confusion on the policies and issues with parking on the Living at Southeast Facebook page — a public group that exists as a resource for university students and staff to network and share information. More often than not, students post after they feel they have received a ticket unfairly when emotions are high.
In fact, Glaus said the Living at Southeast complaints are often the first place DPS officials hear about them.
“Sometimes it's frustrating and saddens me to find out that, well, it appears on Living at Southeast before they even come talk to us,” Glaus said. “That's why I would like to have the opportunity to network in person with that client and give them the customer service they deserve.”
Glaus invited students and staff to attend open forums hosted by the transportation consulting firm KA Associates to voice their thoughts on parking procedures at Southeast.
Consultants of the firm will be at Southeast the week of Oct. 14 to assist DPS in gaining input from students and staff on parking policies.
Glaus said she thinks another factor people fail to take into account is most ticketers are student workers.
“They are working for minimum wage, in the elements, and a lot of times, their cohorts are not nice to them,” Glaus said.
Despite ticketers primarily being students, Glaus assured they still go through an extensive training process.
“They spend some time here [at DPS] studying policy then they go out supervised with the trainer. They work together for some time, and then they're on their own,” Glaus said.
Glaus admitted there is a natural room for error in ticket writing.
“We are human,” Glaus said.
University Communications released the following times of upcoming open forums:
An employee focus group meeting will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 in Kem Statuary Hall in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center.
- A similar meeting for River Campus students and staff will be held Monday, Oct. 14 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the music rehearsal hall, RC 120.
- A student focus group is scheduled from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16.
- An electronic survey will be forwarded to all employees and students the week of Oct. 14 to gather perspectives on parking policy in case anyone could not attend open forums.