Anthony Beers, Staff Writer
The drastic difference in on campus parking this semester has been noticeable for all residential students at SUNY Oneonta. In the fall semester students had no trouble parking within a reasonable distance of their dorms. There always seemed to be a few left over spots for anyone that needed them. A new parking lot was even built right behind Macduff Hall that made life much easier for students.
But entering the 2014 semester, students received an email from University Police explaining that there would be different rules on parking during certain hours and on weekends. Residents would be allowed to park in any “green lots” available if there were no other available spots for the night. Students have to be sure to remove their cars from those areas by eight in the morning the next day. The flaw of this plan is that if a student obliged by the rules and tried to move their car the next morning there still wouldn’t be any reasonable spots available.
The email about more available parking proved to be very misleading, as the new parking rules have resulted in more tickets and headaches for on campus residents. SUNY Oneonta Senate Member Alex Hoysradt provided the explanation for less parking this semester: “UPD agreed to allow a certain amount of second-semester sophomores with parking for the first time this year. In the past you had to have the credentials of a junior student and as a result there was more available parking space for students.” This experiment of allowing sophomores to park on campus has resulted in a complete circus for residential parking. If students get a decent parking spot near their dormitory they are less inclined to leave it. What’s even more frustrating is seeing several “Faculty and Staff” parking lots on the complete opposite side of classrooms and dining halls on campus.
On top of the average college student paying just under 18,000 dollars a year to live on campus, it is an extra hundred dollars a year to park on campus for two semesters. If you wish to park for just the fall semester it is 60 dollars, and for the spring it is 65. So if a student is struggling financially and wishes to pay for parking one semester at a time, it is actually more costly.
How could the same price for annual parking be rationalized if the quality of available parking has significantly decreased? And how could it be more expensive for a parking pass in the spring semester if this is the worst amount of available parking this campus has ever had? Residential Advisor Jon Frederick noticed that first year students with enough credits to be considered sophomores are allowed to have their cars on campus. “It’s one thing if you’re an RA,” Jon explained, “but if it’s only your first year at Oneonta you really shouldn’t be able to have a parking spot.”
The rules for parking at SUNY Oneonta are very inconsistent. If UPD is going to allow a larger number of cars on campus, then the prices should be lowered because the quality of the product is nowhere near the same as it used to be. Faculty and staff parking lots should be available to on campus students on weekends, especially if no one is going to be using them. And if the price for a parking pass is not going to change, tickets should be less frequent for students. Residential students provide enough revenue for the campus, they shouldn’t have to put up with parking rules that don’t make sense.