Students react to parking changes

Jack Arkus, Contributing Writer

Students made their opinions known after it was announced there would be some changes in underclassmen parking.

On Tuesday, Eastern Police Chief Kent Martin sent out a mass email to the student body announcing that the University Police Department will be eliminating the “underclass” parking restriction on a trial basis.

This means for the rest of the semester, students will be allowed to park in any lot designated for student parking.

Before this trial, upperclassmen and underclassmen had different designated parking areas.

Underclass permits could only be used in areas with blue signs and underclassmen were only able to park in areas such as Greek court, University court, Ninth Street Lot, W-Lot and parts of the Stadium Lot.

Vincent Rodriguez, a sophomore pre-nursing major, said the university is on the right track with changing the parking privileges, though he has a different suggestion for what changes should be made.

“I honestly think the university should change it to honors parking instead of upperclassman parking,” Rodriguez said.  “To me, this is a change for the better, but I feel that giving students who receive a high GPA a better parking spot is the best overall incentive.”

The idea of extending parking privileges is something that the Parking Advisory Committee has been discussing at meetings all semester. A proposal was made to Martin, who then ran the idea by the rest of his staff.

Committee member Stacey Smith has been in the committee since mid-June. She said this consensus on parking is good for the time being, but subject to change in the future.

“I think this is a beneficial action for now based on the population of the campus,” Smith said. “If enrollment were to rise next year, then that would be something to consider before making permanent changes.”

Taylor Huerta, a senior health studies major, drives a Kia Soul to her classes on campus.

She said lifting the restriction on underclass parking is a good idea.

“I think it’s fair and makes more sense considering the number of underclassmen compared to upperclassmen,” Huerta said.

Looking back on her freshman and sophomore year, Huerta wishes this action happened sooner.

“As a freshman, I can remember when there were no underclassmen spots open, but the upperclassmen spots were basically empty,” she said. “Overall, this will give the younger students better access to go to their classes.”

Makayla Taylor, a freshman pre-nursing major, said the temporary new change is more convenient for her day-to-day schedule.

“In the fall, I parked across from Ford (Hall) for the first month. Then, I suddenly started receiving parking tickets like no other. When I went to the office to get these cleared, I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that I was unable to park across from my dorm,” Taylor said.

While this may not seem like a big deal to some, Taylor said, the change is better for someone who works and goes to school during the week.

“It’s convenient to now be able to park in the lot across from my dorm instead of parking in the W-lot and walking to Ford,” Taylor said.

Martin said he wants to make sure the new system works effectively before making any permanent changes.

Jack Arkus can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]