University has an obligation to make parking affordable

The hits just keep on coming – to the bank accounts of USF students. Again, with the announced cost increase of parking permits, the student body is paying for changes that it will probably never have the chance to utilize.

Parking and Transportation Services said that a 20 percent increase for the cost of all permits each year over the next five years is necessary for building new garages to facilitate more spots for faculty, staff and students.

As would be expected, many are already not happy about these proposed increases and are ready to fight them.

Roy Weatherford, president of the USF Faculty Union, said that it is USF’s job as an employer to make sure that employees have a way to access their place of employment.

If it is USF’s duty as an employer to provide this to its employees – who are paid to be here – then what is the University’s responsibility to students who pay to attend classes here? Isn’t there a similar responsibility – or perhaps an even greater one – to provide access to places where students need to be for their classes, as they are paying for the University’s educational services?

The answer is that the University does indeed have the obligation of providing this access to faculty and staff, who serve the school, and to the students who pay for the University’s continued existence. It is true that parking expansions are needed and inflation will occur. Yet shoving the costs onto students who will not get to take advantage of these parking improvements – and faculty and staff who merely need to park at the University simply to do their job – does not seem like a logical solution.

While the costs associated with the construction of parking garages are indeed monumental, it’s shameful that so few options were seemingly considered. The University, unsurprisingly, seems to have pushed the cost onto the backs of students and faculty not because other options were impractical, but because neither group has a practical choice in the matter.