Public Safety Increases Parking Ticket Fees

By Valerie Polite

Recent increases in parking violations on campus demonstrate the need for more parking security and a drastic increase in ticket fees.  Now, more than ever, these policies are being enforced with the utmost security to ensure the safety of all vehicles and students on campus.

The Ammerman campus enrolls 14,000 students per semester and in recent years has held the highest number of parking violations. In the spring 2011 semester approximately 500 to 600 violations were issued to students.  According to Baycan Fideli, director of fire and public safety, the fees associated with parking regulation violations were low cost and ineffective.

“Some people are in a rush and they park in fire zones and handicapped spaces and ‘chance it’…Some students see it as a cost to accept. So I guess the fines are too low, so I’ve asked to increase the fines” Fideli said. “The idea is that if 10 percent abuse the system and the rest do it the right way, I want to protect the rest”.

Parking violations in past years ranged from as low as $10 to $100 dollars.  Now with the new regulations in effect they’ve been raised to fall between $30 and $280; a drastic 200 percent increase.

All college students, faculty and staff are required to register their vehicle with the college as well as display their parking permit on the lower right passenger side of their windshield.  As easy as this may seem, this is among the most commonly violated regulation on campus. In the past, violators of this rule were charged with a fee of $10, a number generally considered miniscule and “worth it”.  Due to this common attitude the fee has been raised to $30 in an attempt to encourage students to take parking safety more serious.

The most expensive offense, with a fine of $280, originally $100, is the illegal parking of non-handicapped motor vehicles in the assigned blue handicapped spaces.

“We found out a lot of times that the handicapped people are using dead grandparents’ tags”, Fideli said, “we know all of our handicapped people and there’s not that many”.

Every security action will be taken to prevent unlawful activities against any student or vehicle on campus. Failure to pay a fine may also result in the “encumbrance” of student records and the blocking of future registration.

Some students argue that the lack of parking on campus leaves them no choice but to park in undesignated areas.  They feel like the college is penalizing them for something out of their control.

“The parking lots just don’t accommodate the number of students enrolled with the college. The teachers want us on time to class and sometimes we can drive around for 15 minutes and still not find a parking spot”, said Nickie Gunning, a sophomore studying Painting at the Ammerman campus.

The college does however show mercy and offer leeway to violating students during the beginning of the semester when parking is less available.

“In the beginning of the semester we don’t ever ticket, we don’t even ticket in the first two months because we know you’re trying to get to class and after the second month there’s plenty of parking”, said Fideli. “The other issue is if your class is at 9:00 a.m. and you show up at 8:56 a.m. parking is going to be limited”.

Fideli does however want to add more available parking for students to keep the amount of speeding, texting, and poor driving to a minimum.  This will lessen the number of issued summons regarding speed limit ($100), parking in restricted areas ($100) or in a fire zone ($150), and failure to stop, obey signs, signals, or yield to pedestrians ($100).

Starting the Spring 2012 semester a new software program will be put into effect, known as the DMV Software program.

“We now have a software program that’s going to run your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles and, if you’re violating a rule, we’re going to find out who you are”, said Fideli. “We just crossed data bases and it’s not going to cost any more money. It’s actually the cheapest of operations”.

Sarah Foresh, a Liberal Arts Major, believes the DMV Software program is crucial to the protection of students as well as faculty, staff and administrators on campus.

“The DMV Software program allows the college to an identify violators even if they’re not registered with the school”, said Sarah. “It’s much more settling”.

The college has become very strict when regarding violators and the security of the campus and its students. Public Safety urges for the cooperation of the entire College community.

Once a rule or regulation has been violated it is not set in stone and students are offered the chance to appeal the summons however, it must be submitted within seven days of the violation. “There’s a time line and if you don’t match it then you’re going to get billed automatically and have to pay for it”, said Fideli. To appeal summons students must submit a Summons Appeal Violation form on-line, located under the MySCCC tab on the college website. From there it will be reviewed.

“Basically the captains and I will sit down and review the cases and see which ones make sense and which ones don’t”, said Fideli “people will try to appeal no matter the situation”.

Eventually after the process has been completed, students will be notified of the results through his/her college e-mail indicating why or why not the appeal was successful.

Parking regulations listed both on the college website and in the college handbook, are taken very seriously. If there is a just cause for giving a ticket it will be issued. The regulations are designed for the safety of all members of the college community. Any questions should be directed to the campus public safety office.

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