By Merisa Ashbaugh
Most students groan and indignantly pay (or procrastinate paying) their parking tickets they are issued on campus. However, paying up is becoming more of a challenge since the tickets have exponentially increased from $20 to $35 just last year and from $35 to $50 this school year. Some students make the case that because parking is limited on campus more so than other universities that the price is far too high. “The cost of college alone is a pretty penny and not many college students have 50 bucks just laying around. That’s someone’s budget for groceries right there,” says McKendree junior Caitlin Roche.
However, others argue that because students are not charged a parking fee to have their vehicles on campus, the parking citation cost is not unreasonable. “I also teach at bigger schools than McKendree that require me to spend $100 on a parking pass when half the time I can’t even find a spot to park,” says a professor from the humanities division who wished to remain anonymous.
After speaking with students and faculty members on campus, it is easy to tell that the parking ticket dilemma effects a large majority of the McKendree University population.
Fines for parking violations at larger universities such as Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Saint Louis University cost less than citations issued at McKendree. Parking in lots without a permit or parking in an improper lot results in a $20 fine at SIUE. At Mizzou, the cost of a non-moving violation for “parking in an area in which permission does not apply” is $25. Likewise, SLU issues a fine to students in violation of parking regulations such as parking in the wrong section of a lot or possession of an expired parking permit that result in a $25 fine as well. Even smaller universities closer to the size of McKendree, such as Greenville University, charge students $20 for these kinds of violations. A parking ticket in downtown Saint Louis will not even cost you over $40. For a parking meter violation, the cost is $15. A minor violation such as parking alongside a yellow curb and a public safety parking violation like blocking a fire hydrant costs $40.
It is no surprise that the increasing cost of parking citations has created quite a buzz around campus, so is there a way to help fix this concern and a reasonable solution to lessen the cost? When I asked senior Robert Hankins his thoughts on what could be done to bring down the cost he suggested: “Make the tickets $20 again and implement a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ system like other schools do. If you’ve been caught three times for violating the guidelines you’re banned from parking on certain campus lots for a 60 day period.” If the student is caught after that, then they will risk being issued a larger fine or the possibility of being towed. He mentioned that this gives students a fair warning of what could come if they continue to break the rules but does not overwhelm students for their first offense. Another student suggested that the ticket price should be lowered, and if they do not pay the ticket within a week of the date issued, a $10 late fine is issued for each week after that the ticket remains unpaid.