OPINION: Faculty deserve better treatment from the university

USF staff should not have to pay for parking or access to on-campus amenities. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Faculty and staff are the backbone of USF and deserve to be treated as such. Instead, they are nickel-and-dimed by the university for parking and amenities.

Expecting staff members to pay extra for parking and access to the Recreation and Wellness Center is unfair. The university needs to take better care of its staff and reduce or even revoke these fees.

Faculty pay significantly more than students just for parking, according to USF Parking and Transportation Services. USF offers several different options for parking permits, and staff are able to choose between two: an E or GZ permit.

E permits are valid in any of the designated employee parking spaces. GZ permits are also valid in these spaces, as well as what the university calls “prime” parking spaces.

A regular E parking permit costs faculty and staff up to $270 annually, whereas a non-resident student permit is $183. Even resident students, who take up parking spots on campus day and night, pay $226 per year for their parking permits.

That is just the rate for basic parking spaces. If employees want “prime” parking, they can purchase a GZ permit for $450 per year.

University staff shouldn’t have to pay to be at work, much less be forced to pay higher fees than students.

This doesn’t just apply to parking permits — staff also have to pay to use the Recreation and Wellness Center. Students have free access to the center, as it’s covered by their tuition. Faculty and staff, however, have to pay $316.20 per year for access, according to the Recreation and Wellness Center website.

For comparison, Planet Fitness offers a yearly membership for $199, according to its website

Asking faculty and staff to pay over $300 for a year of access to the Rec is completely unreasonable, especially when other gyms in the area offer memberships for so much less.

This is not exclusive to USF. FSU staff pay $299 per year to use their Rec facilities. For UF faculty, the price is $400 annually, as stated by the Membership Fee Schedule. Students at both universities also have access to these facilities covered by their tuition, so they don’t pay any membership fees. 

Universities need to reduce, if not fully remove these fees. Making faculty and staff pay hundreds of dollars to be at work and hundreds more to use campus amenities is unfair.

Faculty and staff give so much of their time and energy to the university. It’s time for USF to step up, set an example for other public universities and show our faculty and staff some gratitude.