Ian Burnette ’18 has received between 30 and 40 parking citations in two and a half years, mostly because he felt his assigned South Campus parking spots were too far from his North Campus housing assignments.
“I think that growing up driving around and being in the car was a big part of thinking and figuring stuff out, so it was hard to give that up,” Burnette said. “It also was inconvenient to have to walk down the hill to get my car because I live North.”
Most of Burnette’s citations are from the Village of Gambier, and about 7 of them are from the College. Many students park in places other than their assigned lots, but parking in unauthorized spaces carries consequences: In addition to handing out citations, Campus Safety places wheel clamps, or “boots,” on vehicles after 10 parking violations.
Now, consequences for students like Burnette may increase.
Campus Safety recently switched to a new system by parking management company RYDIN that allows officers to run plate numbers and immediately see how many citations students have received, according to Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper. Monitoring a student’s number of parking offenses will allow Campus Safety to adjust the severity of citations. The more citations a student accrues, the more severe citations become.
After two offenses, citations jump from $15 to $25, and after the fourth offense, the fine increases again to $50. More than nine offenses earns a $100 citation, and the offender’s vehicle may be subject to having a parking boot placed on it or even suspension from campus, according to the College’s website.
“If a student is repeatedly getting tickets, we talk to them and make sure they understand the rules and regulations,” Hooper said, “but even under the threat of [vehicle] suspension, many students continue to park in unauthorized spaces because it is more convenient to do so.”
Students who park in faculty lots are of special concern to the administration because, unlike students, most faculty must commute to campus by car, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Bonham ’92.
“If students are parking in places designated as employee spots, that’s very concerning, and we might look at an education effort or enhanced signage or enforcement and perhaps even higher fines to deter students from taking up the absolutely necessary parking spots that employees need,” Bonham said.
In addition to highlighting the importance of preserving faculty parking, Bonham emphasized that the College is a walking campus, so student parking is not a priority.
“There have been conversations about creating options for people to park more on the periphery of campus so that there aren’t so many cars driving through campus,” Bonham said. “We really want to stress that this is a walking campus.”