Parking Passes: But At What Cost?

by The Cowl Editor on September 30, 2021

Creative Non-Fiction

by Kathryn Libertini ’23 

This week, when walking through the Fennel parking lot, I witnessed a black Jeep getting towed. Behind it, a student, presumably on the phone with a fellow student, exclaimed, “Bro they’re towing my car right now, my parents are gonna kill me. What? Yeah, I had tickets. No, I didn’t pay them. My boys told me you don’t actually have to pay them. This is going to drain my weekend funds.” As I continued walking, I noticed several orange boots and even more green tickets stuck to windshields.  

Few people that have driven their cars on campus have been exempt from at least one ticket. A junior student explained that they lost “the lottery” and really needs their car to “go to Starbucks” and “do other stuff” too. Another student chimed in, raising the point that “all upperclassmen should be allowed to have their cars on campus. I get that it’s a small campus and there’s not, like, a ton of spots, but it’s not fair that I have to rely on my roommate’s boyfriend’s 2006 Subaru to get around.”  

Upon further investigation, many students seem to hold qualms about parking on campus. I overheard a group of students talking at Ray during the lunch rush on Chicken Nugget Thursday, one saying, “I have to keep moving my car to avoid getting tickets. I set an alarm for 2:30 AM to go move it from behind Smith to the parking garage to avoid one. Sometimes I have to hike from behind Schneider back to Mal Brown.” To which a friend responded, “Yeah, it’s mad annoying. I went to use my roommate’s car to go a quarter-mile to grab laundry detergent at CVS, and it had a boot on it. I just ended up buying it on Amazon but, like, still lowkey annoying.” So it seems that despite the constant repercussions felt by students in the form of parking tickets, boots, and even towing, students remain steadfast in their commitment to convenience.  

I decided to sit down with an official source to really get a grasp on the situation. I asked the source: “Is it possible to get more parking passes available to students?” The source replied, “No.” I followed up, persistent, “Perhaps upperclassmen students that don’t win the lottery could then pay for a parking pass? That way fewer students get ticketed and other students don’t sneak their cars on campus as often.” 

“The lottery passes already cost $200 for the year.” 

This marked the end of my investigation. For students with cars, the problem is large and the solutions are few, and frankly, I continue to see flashes of orange and green throughout campus parking lots and garages. Oh, and one last thing, I have never noticed a full parking lot. For real though, could they really not spare a few extra passes?