There have been many changes during this school year at Concordia University Wisconsin. We have welcomed in a new president – and a mac-and-cheese bar – but not all of the changes are leaving students with feelings of excitement and positivity. Concordia has introduced new parking policies this year, leaving many students confused and frustrated.
Not only can your car now be towed at your expense for having a certain amount of violations, but for the first time in CUW history, commuters are being required to pay the $200 parking fee. A junior who is currently a commuter shared his frustrations about the abrupt change. When entering college, he made the choice to commute from a financial standpoint. He was still able to get a quality education from the college of his choice but skip some of the more sizable costs like housing and a meal plan.
When the fall semester was right around the corner, he was surprised to see the additional $200 parking fee. Since there was no email sent out during the summer, he was left to find an additional $200 within his budget to pay for an amenity that was previously offered for free. And, with his current class schedule, he is only on campus two days a week. That amounts to about six dollars every time he parks on campus. After bringing the concerns to an administrator on campus, they gave him a simple solution: just park your car at the hospital (1.3 miles from campus) and walk to your classes.
Commuters aren’t the only ones on campus who were surprised by these new policies. A graduate student was surprised to find a ticket on her car during the first week of classes. She had previously purchased a parking permit during the summer and was waiting to get her sticker to place on her car. As a graduate student, she would be getting a black sticker, allowing her to park on the surface lot. But lack of communication and a busy first week of school left her unsure of when to pick up her parking pass. Her car was safely backed in on the third floor of the parking structure. Since she had already purchased a parking pass, she was shocked when she was notified of a parking violation. When she returned to her car, she had noticed that many cars around her did not have stickers either. But something about these cars was different: they had no tickets on their windshields. She was confused but later learned that this was the same day that many of the commuter students got their first tickets.
There is a common theme between the stories of these students on campus. A general lack of communication and transparency. The commuter students were not informed about the hefty additional fee they would need to pay for the fall semester. Those who had ordered a parking pass online over the summer were not notified of a date when their pass would be ready to pick up. And, although campus safety generously provided a grace period before writing out tickets the first few days students were back on campus, they did not communicate when their grace period would end. This led to many students finding a ticket on their windshield the very first week of classes.
Another student that was affected is a senior who is a member of the residence life staff on campus. He received an email notifying him that he was ticketed for a surface parking violation. This in itself is not unusual. What is unusual is that he has a parking pass that allows him to park on the surface lot. As unusual as this is, this is not a new issue for many who have a car on campus. Many students have shared their frustrations with tickets and violations that they do not understand. Not only has there been an increase in students getting tickets, there still seem to be fewer available parking spots than what is needed. The parking structure and the surface lots are bursting at the seams and there is no sign of a solution.
If you have a vehicle on campus, it is very important to look over the parking policies. And make sure you know what surface lots you are allowed to park in if you have surface parking.
Students can share their parking concerns with the Student Government Association on campus.
— Grace Velzke is a writer and social media manager for The Beacon. She is a junior pursing a degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Business Communication.