Students find parking, appeal process ‘confusing’
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 02:01
Joey Marquis, a freshman majoring in finance, said he finds some parking regulations confusing.
Two months ago he received a ticket for parking in the wrong lot, but didn’t realize he wasn’t supposed to be there.
“I have a ‘Y’ sticker, and I parked by the gym at about 2:00 one day,” Marquis said. “I was there for five minutes and got a $30 ticket. Parking is ridiculous.”
Though the number of parking citations have decreased since last year, according to USF Parking and Transportation Services (PATS), confusion surrounding what to do once a citation is issued has not.
Most students choose to pay their fines and be done with them.
But some students opt to challenge their tickets, through a little-known appeals process.
If a student wishes to appeal his or her ticket, the student can submit an appeal on the PATS website. PATS director Raymond Mensah said after reviewing photographic documentation for each citation or ticket written, PATS will then cancel the ticket upon reviewing the appeal, or the citation will stand in a process which takes about two to ten days.
If a student still thinks that a ticket was wrongly issued, he or she may visit the SG Supreme Court for a second appeal. The Supreme Court meets every other Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. to hear appeals from students.
Angela Greenough, associate justice of the Student Government (SG) Supreme Court, said on average, the SG Supreme Court receives approximately seven to 15 appeals at every court meeting.
But she said they should receive more given the number of tickets given out.
Last semester 9,341 citations and 12,923 warning citations were given out to students, with a minimum fine of $15 and a maximum of $275, totaling at least $140,115 used to finance construction, improvement, and maintenance of parking lots and structures, staffing and operating expenses, debt payments on bonds for parking structures, emergencies, and special projects, according to an email from PATS director Raymond Mensah.
“We are all eager on our end to better help students understand how to avoid parking tickets,” Greenough said.
Beth Mackiewicz, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, said she received a ticket in November for parking in a “S” lot when she had a “Y” permit. She said she thinks it is unfair for her to have to park farther away when there is a garage next to Kosove where she lives. But she didn’t know what to do about it.
“I don’t know how to appeal my ticket,” Mackiewicz said. “I think the process should be more accessible for students.”
SG also provides a Solicitor General, free of charge, who is responsible for representing students in SG court cases, including parking appeals.
Michael Kouskoutis, a senior majoring in psychology and history, who serves as the Solicitor General said some students don’t know to come to him.
“Students aren’t aware of my services,” Kouskoutis said. “This is partly because it is a new position… Since the start of last fall, we have actually seen a large increase in students requesting my assistance, but the number is not where we would like it to be.”
According to SG statutes, the Solicitor General is not allowed to actively seek students who are in need of his assistance. Students facing citation appeals must contact the Solicitor General themselves in writing. A request form for the Solicitor General can be found at sg.usf.edu/solicitorgeneral.
Greenough said the Supreme Court consists of nine judges for students to appeal their cases in the SG suite on the fourth floor of the Marshall Student Center.
“In the SG appeal, students are given five minutes to state their entire case, and previous citations are weighed by the court,” Greenough said. “PATS sends us the photos and written statements for consideration, and we notify the student of our final decision within two weeks after their appeal.”
If the SG Supreme Court finds the student at fault, SG notifies PATS, and the student has no option but to pay the fine.
Among the most common parking problems on campus, Greenough said, are students being confused by the “5:30” rule. Students with a valid “S” permit are permitted to park in “S”, “E”, “GZ”, and “Y” lots after 5:30 p.m., but are never allowed to park in disabled, reserved or state vehicle spaces.
Kimberly Baylen, a freshman majoring in pre-nursing, said she received a warning before actually receiving a ticket.