Students protest high ticket prices

Jessica Cole


As a white van filled with two mattresses and a few instruments pulled into the Risman Plaza yesterday at noon, and members of Mercy for Animals handed out pamphlets encouraging students to give up meat, another group of students prepared to make a statement with signs and fliers filled with facts about Kent State’s Parking Services. It was a busy day at the Student Center.

Students protested to the music of the Plums Music Festival. The students were protesting to let Kent State know that they are not happy about the parking tickets many of them have had to pay.

“Mine are $50 each, and now they come with a towing,” sophomore business major Donny Sweeney said.

Sweeney created the Facebook group dedicated to yesterday’s protest after his car was towed the week before spring break.

“I don’t understand why we can’t park next to our building,” Sweeney said.

“This year I’ve probably paid at least $500, not including the tow,” he said.

Other students at the protest have paid large amounts, or owe large amounts to Parking Services, as well.

“I probably owe close to $700,” Paig Meyer, sophomore communications and business major, said.

“If you live on campus, and you’re here every day for a whole school year, you’re probably going to get more than two or three tickets,” Meyer said.

Other students at the protest had never had to pay a parking ticket, but still believe things need to change.

Junior sociology major Bill Poulson works for the university in Network Services and has an R1 service pass. Poulson said these passes are given to students who work for the university and need to drive their cars for work, and it allows them to park almost anywhere.

“I get parking tickets that I shouldn’t get,” Poulson said. “I think I’ve gotten four or five this year.”

Poulson said he’s tired of having to leave work and go to Parking Services to correct a problem that could have been prevented if students who work for Parking Services were better trained.

Other students feel parking permits are too expensive.

“I live in New York. I’m going to use my car maybe four times next year, and I have to pay 100 bucks for a piece of asphalt,” Mike Agnello, sophomore classics and history major, said.

Rosalba Heschelman, an administrative clerk at Parking Services, was also at the protest. She believes the students were not giving all the facts, and Kent State’s Parking Services does the best it can.

“If everybody parks legally and we don’t have to hire as many students to walk around and give tickets, maybe the price (of parking permits) would be lowered,” Heschelman said.

“Parking Services already chokes $3,800,000 out of KSU students a year, and they want additional funding?” Gabrielle Ciofani, sophomore magazine journalism major, asked.

“The bottom line is that changes need to be implemented at Parking Services,” Ciofani said. “Tickets should be a set price.

“No tickets should exceed $30. Asking college students to pay a $50 ticket is completely unreasonable – even if they parked in Lester Lefton’s personal spot,” she said.

Parking Services manager Larry Emling said the price of parking tickets is meant to be a deterrent.

The first two tickets received cost $15, tickets three through eight cost $35, and tickets nine and above each cost $50.

“Nobody has to get a ticket,” Emling said. “When people park in violation it’s their choice most of the time.

“For what it’s worth, ticketing has dropped by close to 40 percent over the past 5 years.”

Emling said for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, Parking Services gave out about 75,000 tickets and as of this time this year, they’ve given out about 40,000.

Emling said he is willing to listen to what students have to say.

“I would be happy to sit down and go over things in detail with anyone who wants to talk about it,” he said.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Jessica Cole at [email protected].