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Musical Cars

Commuters deserve more parking space on campus

Everyone is familiar with the game musical chairs — but what about musical cars? That is how I describe my daily parking experience on campus. When leaving for class in the morning, I make sure I give myself at least 20 additional minutes to find a parking spot that does not require me to park in a faculty lot and risk getting fined, or at the Montagne Center across MLK.

As a commuter, it is frustrating when the student lots near my classes are taken by students who live on campus.

Compared to other universities, Lamar’s dorms are situated within walking distance of most buildings, unlike some other schools that have dorms as far as a mile away from campus. If one lives on campus at LU, one should walk to class.

Those of us who don’t live on campus spend an unnecessary amount of time circling the parking lots waiting for an available space. Not only does it affect commuters, but also faculty and staff who are forced to find another place to park when students have given up and parked in faculty spots, accepting a potential parking fine rather than risk being late for class.

I find myself in this situation often. Just last week I was greeted by a $40 ticket secured under my windshield wiper—what I predict to be one of many this semester.

According to the LU parking website, students must pay between $40-$60 for a parking permit on top of tuition, and parking fines range between $20 and $200, depending on the number of violations received. In addition, anyone with three or more unpaid parking violations, or an expired permit, is subject to being towed or having a boot placed on their vehicle.

Some teachers, including a few of mine, have zero tolerance for tardiness and will mark a student absent for showing up late — even if it is just a minute or two past scheduled class time. This can be problematic for students who live off campus, since Lamar has a policy that only allows students to be marked absent five times per class, before failing and being dropped from the course.

On more than one occasion, an extra 20 minutes hasn’t been enough time for me to find a parking spot and make it to class on time. Even though there are multiple lots scattered around campus for students to park in, anyone with a Lamar parking tag can park in them.

The lack of designated, student parking lots is an issue that surfaces every semester, but I suppose the revenue generated by parking fines is beneficial to Lamar — so cue the music.

Meanwhile I gotta go. I have class in 45 minutes and I need to find a space.

For more information on Lamar’s parking policies visit lamar.edu/parking

Story by Abigail Pennington, UP contributor

Category: Features