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Parking tickets increase on campus

Levi Magill
Students, staff and parents have questioned whether the College has the ability to enforce parking tickets, despite their recent uptick.

As the fall 2023 semester continues, so have the issuance of parking tickets by Campus Safety. Students, staff and parents alike have been ticketed and left questioning the College’s ability to enforce these tickets. 

James Shropshire, director of campus safety, wrote in an email to the S&B that students incur violation charges through their student accounts after a reasonable appeal window is offered. “Every effort is made to hold those who violate campus parking policies accountable in order to preserve the parking management system for all campus users,” Shropshire wrote.  

 He also said that the perceived uptick in parking tickets could be due to the closure of the student permit application window on Sept. 10, as Campus Safety resumes ticketing for all violation types following this period of time. Ticketing is suspended for all violations during the summer months, except for parking violations related to reserved, accessibility and unauthorized spots such as on grass and by yellow-painted curbs. 

Shropshire said that information about these parking policies was shared via weekly emails throughout September, and in the “News” section of the Campus Safety GrinnellShare departmental website. The policies regarding ticket suspension have been in place at the College since 2018. 

Though policies regarding ticketing have remained unchanged, the availability of parking spaces has shifted. Shropshire said that there has been a slight increase in student-designated parking spots and a slight decrease in those designated for visitors, faculty and staff.  

The accessibility of parking spaces in general has fluctuated during the fall semester due to ongoing construction.

“A notable impact to our parking management is the storage of equipment and supplies for the restoration, repair and replacement efforts of campus building roofs and some siding. These products and some equipment are stored on site, effectively taking portions of campus parking lots ‘offline’ for a limited period of time as work is completed,” wrote Shropshire.  

 In the instance that individuals receive a parking ticket on campus, Shropshire wrote that most people pay them, appeal them or ignore them.  

 “Ignoring them can result in towing after the third unpaid and unappealed violation,” he wrote.   

 In terms of appeals, Shropshire included that they are only considered in the event that a “procedural error, environmental issue or a barrier or unavoidable issue occurred.” 

 Recently, some parents were ticketed during Family Weekend, and were confronted with these options in handling their parking ticket appeals.  

“This occurred due to an oversight, and as soon as we became aware of the issue, we took immediate steps to rectify it. All issued tickets have been voided, and we have communicated instructions to our staff, including those who were working as volunteers during Family Weekend, to ensure proper handling of this matter,” wrote Shropshire.

 A parent of a first year student commented on his experience receiving a parking ticket during Family Weekend. He was parked on East Street, behind Main Hall, when his vehicle was ticketed.  

 “I was surprised to find the ticket because I actually made sure to look at all the spots before I left my vehicle that morning for any signs indicating I wasn’t allowed to park there,” the parent wrote in an email to the S&B. “There were signs in front of a few spots that I believe said ‘faculty and student parking.’ However, there were no arrows or anything like that indicating that the whole row was for faculty and students.” 

 The parent wrote that three other cars next to theirs also had tickets on their windshields. He first drove to Mears Cottage to pay the ticket, but was then directed to the cashier on the second floor of the Admissions and Student Financial Services building. He then explained the parking situation to an unknown individual working on that floor, who placed a phone call and then took the parking ticket. The individual told the parent that they would take care of the matter, and didn’t request payment of the ticket.  

 The anonymous parent reflected on his experience, saying that others shared the same frustrations.  

 “On my way out of the building, I passed another grumpy-looking guy with the same yellow ticket in his hand,” he wrote.  

 In addition to parents, students have also experienced the frustrations of parking tickets. Chloe Karasek `25 has received three tickets in their past two years at the College. They experienced a similar parking infraction in the same location as the parent –– however, they appealed their ticket.  

 “They never responded to my appeal, but they also never asked me for money again, so I guess they accepted it,” Karasek wrote in an email.  

They also received a parking ticket for parking in front of the Admissions and Student Financial Services building overnight, which they paid. Karasek wrote that they see parking tickets on cars “all the time, especially in front of the admissions building.” 

“While I fully recognize the privilege of having a car and the responsibility that comes with it, the lack of parking for north campus is super frustrating, especially during the winter,” Karasek wrote.  

In response to campus-wide parking policies, Shropshire wrote, “Campus Safety has input on parking policies on campus, but is not the sole decision maker in the determination of parking policies on campus.” Instead, Shropshire wrote that the stakeholder groups on campus share this responsibility, and to find solutions, the College Parking Committee may be brought together to review complaints and parking policies.

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About the Contributors
Addie Persian
Addie Persian, Staff Writer
Addie is a first year from a town smaller than Grinnell (yes, it’s possible) in the middle of Minnesota. She enjoys playing tennis, shopping, eating sour candy, and going to the casino; all of which are definitely not an addiction… She is intending to major in psychology and/or political science and loves to write both scientifically and journalistically.
Levi Magill
Levi Magill, Visuals Editor
I am a third-year philosophy major from Chicago, but when I'm not reading philosophy I like to watch classic movies, skate around town with my camera, ride my motorcycle, or listen to old records.
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