Parking Issue on Campus

Let’s face it, having a car at St. Mary’s has become an absolute essential if you’re looking to catch a break from the isolated haven of our school’s campus.  How else can you possibly grab a burrito at Chipotle with some friends or get your everyday needs from Target? Or more importantly, how are you expected to get home for the monthly laundry run?

One of the best aspects about St. Mary’s is that every student is allowed a parking permit, from the first-years to the seniors. Unlike other schools, which do not distribute parking permits to many sophomores and first-years, our school invites students to bring their cars and experience “Town” as well as the rest of what St. Mary’s has to offer. The issue, however, is not whether underclassmen can park here at St. Mary’s but rather, the enforcement backing the rules about the parking lots.

When you register your car for a permit, you choose the parking lot that would best accommodate you based off your living situation, meaning for those non-first year students, you get first choice to park in Lots R, S, M, T, W, X, or Z.

Once you have chosen your preferred lot, the “rules” set forth by the school in their copy of “To the Point” state this, “All student, faculty, and staff vehicles parked on the grounds of St. Mary’s College of Maryland must display a campus-issued parking decal, and all visitors must display a parking pass. Vehicles parked on campus must follow all state and College parking regulations. All vehicles in violation of College parking regulations will be issued a citation and towed at the owner’s expense under the following conditions…” to which it lists conditions such as abandoned cars, fraudulent decals, parking in handicap spots and a few more. However, these rules are sadly not being enforced to their fullest.

At nearly every sporting event that takes place on our fields (or any special event for that matter), not only is the MPO-ARC’s gym lot filled, but so are Lots R, S, and most of T (Guam). This is not because all the students decided to stay in concurrently. This is because spectators come to watch and assume that an empty parking spot is OK to take, even if they have not first gone to Public Safety to get their temporary decals.

Why would these spectators think this is ok? That is because nothing is being done to uphold the rules and regulations. Public Safety will not write a citation nor have the unpermitted cars towed as the school does not wish to create tension with the surrounding community.

The question that now arises is this: What about tension between the students and the school and their officials? Students who have paid their dues to park in the parking lot of their choice are now unable to park in their desired parking lot as making a fuss over parking spots will “create tension amongst the public”. The community is not paying tuition to St. Mary’s, nor is it paying for parking decals to assure parking spaces for when they are needed. Students are, however. This tells me that the school is slightly more inclined to care about tensions with the community than with its own students.

As a graduating senior, this issue will continue to affect me for only 6 months, 11 days, and roughly 4 more hours from this very moment. Then I have to wonder, will this issue continue to be unaddressed for all the underclassmen? And the students who have yet to be welcomed into the St. Mary’s community?

Who can help to right this wrong? Too bad Superman isn’t on duty.

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