By Lejla Zornic
October 17, 2022
You might have noticed that tension has been high recently due to parking issues. This problem is not new – in fact, parking has been a topic of discussion for many years. St. John Fisher University has done much research in order to aleve stress, and Safety and Security believes the current system in place for parking is the best it has been in years.
With 699 upperclassmen parking spots, 186 first-year parking spots, and 1,128 commuter parking spots, it seems as though there is enough space. Only 600 out of the 699 available upperclassmen parking spots are in use this semester. There is excess space for residential students in Lot S, which Fisher is leasing from Rochester to use for their students.
When asked if complaints about parking have increased, Brock Glann, Assistant Director of Campus Safety and Security, said there are “less complaints” because of the new and unexpected “surplus of parking.” Glann mentioned that “pre-covid [is when] every single spot was taken,” so transitioning into this year, students have less to worry about when it comes to parking.
It is easy to blame first-year students on the “sudden” lack of parking, but that is not fair when their parking lots (W, V, Z) have not been fully used until this year. First-year students are given the farthest spots, as they are located on the sides and in the back of Murphy Hall, and the rest are first-come first-serve for residential students.
Commuter students will typically park in Lots S, A, C, F, and I, which should not present a conflict between residential and commuter students as they are only made for commuters and faculty members.
According to Glann, when St. John Fisher repaves parking lots, like they did with Lot U in an earlier year, they “usually try to pick up a little bit [of space]” to create more parking spots. If anything, space has opened up over the last few years.
Statistically speaking, space is not the issue. The problem occurs when necessity comes into play. For instance, why is the first-come first-serve system the best option? How does Safety and Security guarantee that people are parked in the right lots? And, how do we make sure the students who need close parking to residential buildings receive accommodations?
Before this year, each student was assigned a parking lot based on how many credits they had accumulated. Safety and Security decided to switch over because their main goal is to be as equitable as possible. Nursing students who are required to attend clinicals early in the morning were not treated fairly if they had to park in Murphy or S-Lot.
Additionally, students had complained in the past that lots located near Dorsey Hall typically cleared up during the weekend and it did not make sense to park in farther lots. When Safety and Security allowed leniency during the weekend, students took issue with leniency not being offered during the week as well. In order to appease all people, Safety and Security turned the parking system into a first-come first-serve basis.
This semester, Safety and Security allowed students to start parking in Lot M (a Faculty and Staff parking lot) between 5:00 pm and 7:30 am. This adjustment gives easy access to students who need to leave campus early while still reserving parking for Faculty and Staff during the day.
Safety and Security primarily focuses on responding to concerns rather than pure enforcement. There are three officers on three shifts everyday that patrol to make sure people are parked in the correct lots. If they are not, the officer on duty will give out parking tickets.
According to Glann, if an individual accumulates too many tickets, they are subject to Safety and Security “revoking the permit.” This year, Russel Reynolds, Director of Campus Safety and Security, “spoke individually to each incoming first-year student” to warn them of the repercussions.
Students who have received tickets get upset because they feel as though St. John Fisher University is profiting off of them. All funds collected from tickets go to scholarship funds. Meaning, if you have paid $25 for a ticket, that money might be benefiting you or other scholarship recipients. Glann said that each parking permit and parking ticket given out “is not a source of revenue for Fisher.”
Moreover, Safety and Security purposely changes their parking permit appearance from year to year so no one can reuse old permits. It is a safety issue if students do reuse or make fake permits due to the inability to contact a student if something were to happen to their car.
Yes, parking can be frustrating at times. It is reasonable that people do not want to walk far when the sun sets. The frustration, however, would be at an all-time high if students were never able to get spots closer to their residential halls. The real question: is the opportunity to get a good parking spot worth competing with the rest of the student body?