By Conor Merrick | News Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by: Michael Dunn | Photographer
Students on South’s campus have criticized Parking Services for leaving two $40 tickets on their cars at a time. They also feel parking around campus is too limited, making it easier to get a ticket.
The cost of an average ticket from parking services is $40. But some students are finding more than one violation left on their windshield, which means violations can quickly add up. If a student incurs fines over $200, it can result in a hold and prevent them from registering for classes for the next semester.
When violating more than one Parking Services policy, it’s possible to get more than one ticket at a time, according to their rules and regulations. The Vanguard reached out to Parking Services for comments about student criticisms. They did reply but were only willing to communicate through a mediator in the Media Relations office.
A Word document sent to The Vanguard from Parking Services through Media Relations states:
“Two citations are written when two violations occur at the same time, such as:
- parked out of zone AND in a F/S [faculty/staff] parking space, or
- no permit AND parked in a zoned lot during the time of zone enforcement
- no permit AND in a F/S parking space, etc.”
Junior Vivian Bueno hasn’t been ticketed herself but feels $80 is asking too much from students who are already on a budget.
“If you’re gonna give a ticket, let it be a fair price,” Bueno said. “We already give enough money to the school. Why make it harder on us when it comes to paying it off?”
South Alabama made $377,568 during the 2021 fiscal year on parking violations and during COVID, when South was mostly online, the school collected $231,683, according to data provided through Media Relations from Parking Services. South’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Juniors Darrin Hooper and Nicholas Johnson have their own stories to tell. After a short visit to the student center, Hooper found a $40 ticket on his windshield.
“Last semester, I was going to the student center to get something to eat and they gave me a ticket,” Hooper said. “I was in there for 5 minutes. They were watching me for five minutes,” Hooper claims.
While Johnson didn’t receive a ticket himself, he did see his fraternity brothers receive tickets after attending a school event hosted by the Student Government Association and President Bonner.
“They were in there for like five minutes,” Johnson said. “And all of them had tickets.”
Overall, there are 10,173 parking spaces on campus and 10,482 parking permits assigned to students, staff and faculty, according to the document received from Parking Services. Out of the total permits, 8,522 of them are assigned to students. Although there are more parking permits than spaces, the document states “not all vehicles are present on campus at the same time as people come and go throughout the day.” However, students like freshman psychology major Ava Gordon still feel parking is lacking near the residence halls.
“Parking is a really big issue in Stokes because there’s not enough parking spaces and also parking tickets have gotten really, really unfair,” Gordon said.
Gordon isn’t the only on-campus resident who thinks ticketing has gotten out of hand. But freshman sociology major Nikole Bokun has an idea to help tone down the number of citations.
“Maybe give a warning first and keep track and if you have like two warnings, then [at least] you got warned,” Bokun said. “Our friend didn’t want to park far away at night and if you’re parking far away, as a woman, most people don’t feel safe walking to their dorms.”
Available parking becomes harder to find near residence halls in the evening so students may find themselves needing to walk from farther away to get to their residence hall as the closest spaces start to fill up. Senior Jamie Carpenter, an RA on campus, agrees that can be dangerous.
“It’s just frustrating how the system is set up,” Carpenter said. “I understand that we have enough parking at the university but we don’t have enough parking in the right places. It can create kind of dangerous situations for people at night.”
Commuter students who are visiting residential halls should be aware that they can’t park there overnight. Visiting hours at residence halls end at midnight Sunday through Thursday and at 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. Staying later could result in your car getting towed.
Parking Services encourages students to read through the rules and regulations to avoid getting tickets. Parking zones are enforced from 7:30 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.