Staff Editorial: Understanding the frustration of parking permits

There are many positive and unique experiences that come along with being a student at Lewis, but there is one experience the collective student body can agree is a nuisance: parking permits.

With the rising costs of tuition, textbooks and other academic-related ventures, one of the last financial priorities students have is paying for parking on campus; however, the issue has unnecessarily become increasingly more important within the past few years, and students are not pleased.

For the 2017-2018 academic year, the cost of a parking permit comes in at a rough $180 – a pretty steep price for those who, sometimes, cannot even afford the food on campus. This has resulted in many students either forgoing an updated permit, or carpooling with each other just to avoid the hefty price.

While the cost of the permits warrants the backlash it has gotten, students should be cautious with where they direct their anger.

It’s almost a no-brainer to assume that the Lewis University Police Department (LUPD) – the ones who will issue citations to parking violators – are in charge of the permit cost; however, this can not be further from the truth.

According to Deputy Chief of Police Michael Zegadlo, “permit costs are voted on by the Board of Trustees at the recommendation of the business office.”

This means that the department really only has a say in who will receive parking violations. So, before complaining to your Twitter followers about receiving another parking citation, remember that it’s not really LUPD’s fault.

This fact, though, doesn’t help to eliminate concerns about just where our money goes, and how it helps benefit the university itself.

“Permit and citation fees go into the university’s ‘general fund’,” said Zegadlo, adding that the “Facilities Department has a very limited budget for pavement and parking lot maintenance, which is not directly connected to permit or citation revenue.”

While this may make sense, justifying $180 for a parking pass doesn’t seem to work for many students.

Collecting pennies between seat cushions for textbooks is a struggle in itself, and the outrageous price to park on a campus that has barely enough spots for a large commuter population is even more frustrating.

Since the start of the 2017 academic year, more and more students are parking their cars to go to class, only to return to a parking citation. This is in part due to the permit rule enforced by LUPD.

“All vehicles parked on campus must display a valid permit: commuter, resident, Lot NN, staff, temporary or visitor,” said Zegadlo. “If someone who is not a student or employee comes to campus, he or she should stop at the police Communications Center and obtain a visitor permit.”

For the students who quickly peeled off their old parking permit and believed parking in the “visitor” lots would keep you safe from receiving a ticket, unfortunately that’s not the case.

Additionally, don’t forget about the free lots.

Nothing is more convenient than parking in the lot that is centrally located; however, by parking in the free lot students are able to get their steps in. The free lot may be far from most buildings on campus, but you’re still getting a spot, and did we mention it’s free? Getting to campus a little earlier is a worthwhile option for those who cannot afford or are not willing to pay the $180 parking fee.

So, while students should be more conscious about parking permits, they also should be less resentful to LUPD, who is only doing its job. For those who warn other Lewis students about campus police issuing tickets on social media: we salute you. For those who purchased a permit, as Kris Kardashian says, “You’re doing amazing, sweetie.”