Fuad: Stop charging students money for parking permits

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A commuter permit sticker is photographed in a car at a parking lot at Rowan's Glassboro Campus. Editor-in-Chief / Miguel Martinez

Being a Rowan college student has its perks: you make your own schedule, get to learn from a professor of your choice, meet people from all different places and get to explore your interests and passions, whether it is joining Greek life or joining other clubs. You also get to wear pajamas and hats to class and no one will care.

College is all fun and games … until you can’t find a parking spot. On top of that, you don’t know where your money went because it was spent on a parking permit that does not even guarantee a parking spot. 

Parking has been an issue at Rowan for a number of years. Parking spots are pretty much first come, first serve and it’s frustrating for students who are trying to find a parking spot so they can get to class. Some arrive an hour or two before their classes just to find parking. Some students are waiting so long to park that they are late or end up missing class. When desperation hits, they park illegally.

This is especially troubling in light of the fact that freshman and sophomore resident students aren’t even allowed to purchase a permit or park on campus, according to Public Safety’s rules and regulations. This means that even without these students taking up space, parking remains an issue.

Now, parking illegally is not a bad thing, especially if you’re trying to get to class on time, right? Public Safety disagrees. They dish out fines for parking illegally at a minimum of $50. Students wouldn’t be parking illegally if there were enough parking spots. 

Students drop $80 for a semester-long parking permit and $140 for a year-long permit that won’t even guarantee a parking spot. On top of that, the fines are even more money. Public Safety hand out fines like they are Oprah Winfrey.

Most importantly, college students do not have the kind of money to handle all of these expenses. 

It has been a common theme that the university is anti-commuter, with Public Safety giving commuter students a hard time just because they’re anxiously trying to park so they can get to class on time.

I recall an incident at Lot R last semester where a student was watching a student get into his or her car to leave and pulled up in the middle of the lot road to take that spot. Then, I saw Public Safety going up to the vehicle and talking to the student and, although I do not know the specifics since I had a far view, it seemed like an argument ensued.

This can discourage freshmen and sophomore students who plan to commute to save tuition money from going to Rowan.

I believe the parking garages have been a great substitute for those who cannot find a spot on the commuter lots but there are fees for going over the free two hour (or sometimes one hour) limit. The parking garages at both Mick Drive and Rowan Boulevard, however, charge close to $200 to get a permit to park. Residents who drive on campus pay $125.

The complaints keep piling up from students because of the lack of parking available, stemming from the removal of commuter lots to pave the way for school buildings being under construction. 

Reducing parking availability can be more of an elaborate way of forcing students to live on campus but if I recall from last semester, there was a housing crisis where upperclassmen students were forced to stay at the Marriott Hotel in Rowan Boulevard. Students just can’t seem to win.

I’ve been commuting to Rowan for almost two years since I transferred in the fall of 2018 and it has saved me money. I’ve enjoyed my experience at Rowan so far but I would’ve enjoyed it more if I didn’t have to pay almost $100 a semester for a permit that won’t guarantee a parking spot. I have friends that commute to Stockton University, whose parking situation is just as bad as Rowan’s and they do not have a parking garage, and they give parking permits for free.

The fines are half of the $50 fines here.

It seems like the university is faulting the commuter for saving money on tuition by commuting to campus. For a university that has been making changes for the better of the students and the school, parking still continues to be an issue.

I hope this gets resolved when I graduate because the low point of my Rowan experience has been the parking situation and I won’t miss it one bit. I just wonder how much I would have saved if I did not have to spend over $300 in parking permits. 

Stop charging students for parking permits if there is no guaranteed parking spot. If that happens, then students wouldn’t be so disgruntled. Students can show up to class on time and would enjoy college more. But what do I know is that the university is counting money while they are reading this opinion piece.

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