USG holds meeting to discuss parking issues


Matthew Brown

Cars line the sidewalk of the Prentice parking lot.

Macy Rosen, Reporter

An Undergraduate Student Government meeting allowed students to express their concerns about parking and transit services Oct. 6.

Following the conversation, USG plans to compile student statements into a document that they will share with campus leaders and Parking and Transit Services Manager Larry Emling.

USG board members did promise the students anonymity, so attendees’ identities and information will be kept anonymous.

USG’s Senator for Off-Campus and Commuter Students Gavin Aitken led the meeting with an introduction of the rules to have successful and civil conversations.

“The goal of today is to be able to understand where all of your opinions lie with parking here at Kent State along with any potential solutions that you might see from a student perspective,” Aitken said.

Students then got into small groups where USG board members facilitated the conversation by asking questions about students’ experiences with parking services. The questions started off with, “What is your experience with parking on the Kent State campus?”

“Number one, the price of the passes, in general, are so expensive,” a senior student said, “and the other thing too is they’re not transferable. I wish if I had an R1 pass, I could park at any R parking lots, or something similar.”

Another student had a more concerning answer to that question. She told group members a story about forgetting to move her car for an entire week. “I went to my car to see a stack of tickets, like every single day that I hadn’t gone to my car, they just gave me another.” The student said, “They were nice and they helped me waive some of my tickets, but it just brought up the thought: what if I was missing and nobody knew but parking services could have seen that I wasn’t returning to my vehicle and to notice the tickets and rather they were piling up? So, I was like, maybe we should reach out to students when we notice they aren’t returning to their vehicle.”

The group members had concerned looks on their faces while she was telling the story, and many of them expressed their specific concerns after.

Cars fill the Centennial Court parking lot as students prepare for Fall Break. (Matthew Brown)

Throughout the small group conversations, students were encouraged to discuss ticket prices, challenges they have faced with parking this semester, any concerns they wanted to share and anything positive they could say about parking services.

While group members were stating their concerns, one student mentioned the loss of parking on campus this year due to construction. “We know we’re going to lose these lots, so as a result, we need a new parking area for students,” she said.

Another student replied back to her with, “This year he [Larry Emling] said that they actually did make a new lot and that they sent an email out to students in the summer.”

The last question from the facilitator was, “From a student perspective, do you have any realistic suggestions for how parking can be improved?”

“I’d say from a PR perspective, there’s no communication with any of the students. Someone said Larry’s a nice guy, I would have never known that,” a public relations student said. “I feel like parking as a whole is seen more as a mystic being than an actual department.”

The small group agreed that having transferrable parking passes or creating a student parking garage should be something parking services considers. Students also agreed that they don’t view parking services as a person or a department, they’re “just there.”

A senior student also brought up an interesting subject, “My friend works for parking service, and he literally said to me, ‘what’s your license plate so I never give you a ticket?’ I told him that was disgusting. And then he was joking around, and he told me that they have a game that they like to play of who can give the most tickets.”

All six students in the small group had their mouths wide open when this was said. Students were frustrated by this and agreed that fellow students should not be giving out parking tickets.

Once the small groups finished up, students sat together and had a large group discussion, summarizing what was said in the small groups. Aitken led the group discussion again, highlighting that Kent State Parking and Transit Services are fully self-sufficient and do not get any money from student tuition.

“I had no idea they were self-sufficient,” psychology major Emma said, “knowing now that it’s different, like it’s very separate from the university, I now understand more.”

After this was brought up, Aitken explained in detail the self-sufficiency of parking services and how it operates. Students looked interested in this, and they asked questions following the discussion.

“I will say Larry is very, very personable, but I wouldn’t know that through one email, so I do encourage you all to go talk to him,” Aitken said.

Cars fill the Centennial Court parking lot as students prepare for Fall Break. (Matthew Brown)


Macy Rosen is a reporter.