Section: News

Limited usage of South 1 lot attributed to its location

Limited usage of South 1 lot attributed to its location

Following changes made to parking over the summer, both students and faculty are voicing frustrations about the locations of lots South 1, 2 and 3 as well as the lack of available parking up the Hill on North Campus. Faculty concerns about students parking in faculty lots have prompted email responses from the Kenyon administration. Students are frustrated about the disuse of South 1 (formerly a partial student lot) by faculty and the locations of South 2 and 3, now the only student lots on South Campus.

“We felt that we would end up with more cars in there … in the South [1] lot,” Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper said. “If we get other programs [events], especially in Rosse, that’s gonna be where people end up parking for those kinds of things.”

Richard L. Thomas Visiting Chair in Creative Writing Katharine Weber questioned if a certain percentage of South 1 could be returned to students as needed. However, Weber also noted that student cars often overstay their welcome in faculty lots. “If students are sloppy about their privileges, it’s going to hurt everybody,” Weber said. “It makes people feel no students should ever be able to park here at any hour of the day or night.”

Emails, obtained via an anonymous source, suggest that faculty are frustrated by student parking in faculty and staff lots, with one faculty member writing, “I see no reason why (with the obvious exception of those who have mobility issues or are injured) [students] shouldn’t park at the remote lots by the athletic fields.”

In addition to concerns about student parking, these emails expose worries about signage, mobility and safety. Another faculty member asked that the administration rethink the “Visitor Only designation for the plethora of spots in front of and around Peirce … Right now, these spots are needlessly contributing to parking problems (and encouraging students to illegally park [sic]).”

“If we mark things as faculty/staff, well, the [administration’s] argument was it ruins the aesthetic of the campus,” Vernon Schubel, professor of religious studies, said. “Quite frankly, while they’re building the library, nothing can ruin the aesthetic of the campus.” Schubel’s primary issue is parking mid-day: “The faculty at Kenyon do not come in at nine and go home at five. I’m teaching two evening seminars, that’s not unusual … A lot of us have kids who are in school … You leave to pick up your kid at school and come back, and then there are no parking spaces [near faculty buildings] because the parking is gone.”

Schubel noted that South 1 is meant to be a last resort, for when faculty cannot park near their own buildings. Another faculty member wrote that students should not park on central campus at all, and that part of South 1 ought to be designated faculty/staff for the next two years.

Hooper confirmed that faculty parking is “first-come, first-serve, just like with students. If it’s a true disability accommodation, obviously, that’s our responsibility.”

However, Weber questioned the idea of a “true disability accommodation.”

“There are lots of people who wouldn’t want to self-identify as handicapped but who might really be older, struggling with bad knees or a heart or whatever it is … it might be nobody’s business,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to declare yourself disabled and have special dispensation [to get close parking].”

Schubel pointed to an oft-returned to phrase on Kenyon’s campus: “I felt like quite often we’ve just been told, ‘It’s a walking campus’ — this from people who probably have spaces right next to their office.”

Another faculty email concluded, “Being able to find parking in order to teach class would seem to be a priority on a campus that talks as much about teaching as we do. Perhaps we could designate a few more parking spots to help facilitate our ability to perform our essential roles as teachers and advisors.”

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