Opinion: The trouble with parking services

Samantha Karam

You’re trudging to your car after a long day of classes. Your stomach is growling and your shoulders ache from carrying a backpack for hours. You approach your car and the cherry on top of your exhausting day comes into focus. As you get closer you pray your mind is only playing a trick on you, but with each step that blind hope fades. From rows away the sunshine-colored envelope burns your retinas.

Thanks, parking services.  

As a commuter student, I can tell you everything about on-campus parking is frustrating. Passes sell out within days, the meters and lots are too expensive to frequent and parking service workers have an unnecessarily constant presence.

First off, parking permits are given out on a basis of how many credit hours a student has. It’s interesting that graduate students or students with more than 90 credit hours get first dibs while the rest of us have to sit by and watch as the number of available permits rapidly decreases. When I say it’s interesting, I, of course, mean it’s unfair because by the time permits are available for sophomore commuters like me, nearly all of the on campus spots are filled. Then I have to compete with everyone else who is just as desperate as I am.

If a student fails to snatch an on-campus parking pass, they’re out of luck. End of story. Parking services shows no mercy for the students who are clearly underdogs from the start. If you aren’t given special treatment based on your credit hours, there’s nothing to do except pay every time you need to park on Kent State property.  

Why are students expected to give $6 every weekday to park at the Student Center lot? The meters scarcely scattered around campus are equally as expensive. Meters and lots charge only a few dollars out of pocket, but paying every time I need to be on campus adds up faster than how quickly we are rushed through a Chipotle line.

Parking services has such a relentless presence. When a meter or temporary pass expires, you’ve got minutes before one of its vigilantes spring into action.

Say I pay for two hours at a meter and my meeting goes for exactly two hours. Within the five minutes it takes me to walk (more like sprint) back to my car I probably have a ticket. I’ve paid the way I’m supposed to and parking services still won’t give me a break.

This issue goes beyond immediate campus. The school makes broke college students pay for parking at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. We give thousands in tuition each year and we can’t even release stress related to school and money without having to worry about parking tickets.

It seems the more students voice their frustrations, the more tickets are given out. A student’s only option is to buy a permit, but with a system of favoritism many of us are hopelessly trapped with no clear way out of this cycle of on-campus obligations, frustration, worry and tickets.

Samantha Karam is an opinion writer for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].