Parking appeals a learning tool for SG members

After a meeting with Parking and Transportation Services in May, Student Government became the final authority in the citation appeals process for students. However, Greg Sylvester, director of Parking and Transportation Services, said his department did not relinquish all control to SG. Sylvester said the change to allow parking tickets to be appealed through the SG Supreme Court was for educational purposes.

“We didn’t really give up control. Some students in SG are political science majors who want to pursue careers in politics,” Sylvester said. “They are learning from this experience, and ruling on parking appeals contributes to their responsibilities and education.”

The process, which took effect last month, allows students to appeal a parking ticket they think is unjust through the SG Supreme Court within 14 days from the date it was issued.

Sylvester said Parking and Transportation’s role in this process is to provide SG with the offender’s information. There are rules and regulations that apply even at the SG level, and the committee may not make decisions against the rules.

“Just like federal judges cannot make up laws, (the SG) Supreme Court cannot make up rules, and they cannot make decisions violating the rules,” Sylvester said. “There is an oversight process that exists to intervene when SG makes a decision that violates rules.”

However, Sylvester said there hasn’t been a need to exercise any intervention in the SG hearings. He said he is content with the system as it stands.

“I’m happy with how it is going so far,” Sylvester said. “I’m fine with Student Government’s involvement. I was fine with it from the moment it was proposed. Other universities do it this way, while others do it the original way. There is no right or wrong way to handle parking violations. There is no problem with the students having self-government as long as those in control are responsible, and Parking and Transportation Services don’t have to invoke oversight amendments. And, of course, there is the benefit of an added value to students’ education.”

Last year, Parking and Transportation Services wrote 77,000 citations, 22,000 of which were warnings. Eight to 900 cars were booted and 13 were towed.

“We have a very fair system, especially compared to other institutions,” Sylvester said. “Maybe overly lenient.”

Sylvester said 75 percent of all citations given were one of two types: Either the car did not have a permit on it, or the vehicle was out of an assigned area. Eleven percent of infringements were meter violations.

“All of these infractions are easily avoidable if a student observes the rules,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester said it is every student’s responsibility to know and understand the rules. A copy of the rule brochure is available in the Parking and Transportation Services building and online.

Sylvester said students need to know the basics: The blue, non-resident student decals can only be used in designated parking lots such as the Crescent Hill Garage and the Sun Dome parking lot before 5:30 p.m. The red resident decals can only be used in assigned lots such as the Andros Parking lot before 5:30. Either decal can be used anywhere on campus, excluding disabled and reserved spots, after 5:30. All cars with decals can park in Park-n-Ride, but those with Park-n-Ride decals may not park outside those lots until after 9:30 p.m.

Historically, 10 to 15 percent of appeals are granted, Sylvester said, so Parking and Transportation Services encourages every student to appeal any citation.

“But the best action is preventive action. Know the rules and abide by them.” Sylvester said.