As almost everyone knows, the first week of classes is hectic in many ways: new academic pressures, new clubs to be involved in and new people to meet.
There is only one little problem: where do you park to get to class?
The first week of classes has been known as a parking exemption week, a week where public safety doesn’t ticket cars without parking passes in any lot.
This does help some students by giving them more time to procure a parking pass, but for other students who applied last semester, it is a large inconvenience.
Many commuters do not have time to get to Wilkes at 8 a.m. for a 10 a.m. class. Unfortunately, this is what has been happening. Students pay $160 per semester for a commuter parking pass and then find nowhere to park.
In addition to several parking lots such as the one behind the Student Center, one located behind UCom, another behind Weckesser Hall and one on the side of the Marts Gymnasium, there is also a five-story parking garage.
This should provide plenty of room for students, especially commuters, to park. However, people have been crowding the meters, parking at the local YMCA and parking in “no parking zones.”
Many of the people taking up these spots have not paid for parking passes, and as the second week of classes has showed, they may not need to if public safety continues not to ticket.
As long as “free parking” continues at Wilkes, people who paid for their parking passes, resident or commuter, are being short-changed out of their time and money.
One can obtain a parking pass by filling out a form and handing it into Public Safety. The pass is one that hangs from a driver’s rear view window and is numbered and color coded. The student will then receive an email telling them they have been granted a parking pass. The set up is a little confusing, as commuters get their parking passes from Commuter Council, residents get their passes from Res Life, and public safety enforces the policies. Most tickets are approximately twenty five dollars, and are automatically added to a student tuition statement.
In the future, students should appeal to Public Safety for separate lots: a faculty lot, a commuter lot and a resident lot, so that someone who drives from Dallas or Laughlin to school gets a parking space instead of someone who drives from the dorms, and staff members do not need to battle students for parking.
As a commuter, the parking situation can only be described as chaos. There are several spots that could be turned into more parking such as the field next to the sub parking lot. There is no reason Wilkes needs an empty field when people can not find a place to park. There are also several spots for “government officials” that no one ever uses.
The ticketing process is also slightly unorthodox. Many people have gotten tickets even if they have prominently displayed parking passes because Public Safety does not do a thorough job of looking for the passes. A tinted window will not make a parking pass invisible and in a last resort, license plate numbers could be used. Obviously those parking in no parking zones should be ticketed, but not people who have a parking pass on record.
As the semester goes on, hopefully Public Safety will start ticketing people who are actually breaking the rules, freeing up some spaces for students, faculty and some residents who paid for their parking passes and truly need to get to class on time.