A petition to allow resident students to park on campus during weekends was recently spread throughout social media by FSU students.
The petition was created in response to a campus-wide email issued by University Police stating the weekend parking policy.
According to the email, resident and commuter students can only park in the Salem End Lot between Friday evening at 3:00 p.m. and Sunday night at 11:00 p.m.
Students are never allowed to park in the faculty/staff parking lots of Normal Hill, A-Zone, O’Connor Hall, Bement, the Welcome Center Lot, Adams Lot, and Linsley Lot, the email stated.
The petition states, “For at least the minimum of the past 4 years,” students have been allowed to park in these lots. And now, University Police is attempting to enforce a rule that denies them the ability to do so.
Brad Medeiros, chief of University Police, told The Gatepost there has been no change to the weekend parking policy. Rather the email was intended to remind students that these policies are still in place.
The initial email caused confusion among students, who thought the parking policy was changing, and it was “not well received,” Medeiros said. University Police issued a second email to clarify the situation.
The weekend parking policy exists to ensure enough space is available for commuters and faculty to park when they arrive on Monday mornings, Medeiros explained.
When the rules have not been enforced, resident students have left their cars parked overnight and into the weekday period, he added.
Junior Shelby Corbin, who signed the petition, said, “I think that it’s hard for us to see so many close, open spots on campus.
“I know many of us juggle multiple jobs and school,” she added. “Having the convenience of a quick walk to your car to go to work after a full academic day would be one less thing for students to worry about.”
Junior Sarah Parker said, “While I would like to be able to park in the upper campus lots, I do understand why it’s not allowed.
“Students would definitely be more apt to leave their cars in those lots on Sunday nights, which would affect faculty parking.”
Recently, University Police has noticed an uptick in non-compliance with the parking policy, according to Medeiros.
Forty cars belonging to residents remained in the faculty/staff lots on Monday morning, Feb. 24, he said. This is in addition to 22 resident cars left parked overnight in the commuter lots that same day.
“It’s a very difficult situation in the morning when everyone is arriving and 40 spots are already taken,” Medeiros said.
“We don’t like to write tickets, and I’m sure nobody likes to receive them,” Medeiros said. “It would make it a lot easier if everyone just parked in their designated lots.”
The parking petition has received 1,672 signatures by The Gatepost’s print deadline. However, it is unclear how many signatures are from FSU students as the petition is public.
Safety was a common concern brought up in the petition comments, particularly when it comes to parking late at night.
Sophomore Autumn Nisby commented, “Sometimes, I work before 6 a.m. and after 11p.m. I do not want to walk miles around campus in the pitch black and feel unsafe.
“We pay 500 dollars for parking miles away – which is absurd,” she added. “On weekends, commuters are not at the school, so us parking behind our dorms makes sense. Professors are not here either, so not letting us park here doesn’t make any sense at all.”
She concluded, “Feeling unsafe on my own college campus SHOULDN’T be the case.”
Medeiros maintained, “We have a safe campus.” He added the RamTram and police escort are available options for students who must park off campus after dark.
The Student Transportation Center (STC) offers an on-call dispatch service to the Union, Franklin, and Maple lots between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. on weekends.
STC Dispatch can be reached at 508-215-5920. The last calls are honored at 1:45 a.m.
University Police also offers a safety escort service from 2:00 a.m. until dawn every day. Special arrangements for an escort can be made with the supervisor on duty before 2:00 a.m. as well, according to Medeiros.
However, “We can’t have University Police used as a taxi service,” Medeiros said. University Police requests that the escort service only be used “when absolutely necessary and when no other options are available,” according to its website.
Regarding the current parking policy, Medeiros said, “Anything is up for discussion.”
It is a topic of concern for the University’s Parking Committee and one that Medeiros said he expects to be brought up at the upcoming Administrators’ Forum March 10.
University Police does not receive any revenue from the parking tickets it issues, Medeiros added. The proceeds are used to fund scholarships for students.
According to Vice President Dale Hamel, approximately $100,000 of the current fiscal year’s financial aid budget is funded through parking ticket net revenues.
[Editor’s Note: Associate Editor Cara McCarthy and Asst. News Editor Leighah Beausoleil contributed to this article]