Online petition sparks conversation over campus parking policies

0
1877

Kamrin Baker 
EDITOR IN CHIEF 

Parking policies vary for permit-holders, staff, students and guests on campus. Photo courtesy of UNO Communications.

It’s not the Renegade dance or the newest Harry Styles album, but it always seems to have students talking: the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s parking policies.

Most recently, an anonymous student posted an online petition to Change.org, calling to “remove the UNO parking manager who exploits students on campus.” The petition goes on to criticize the use of boots on student cars, high violation fees and request that the violation waive policy be reinstated.

Though the creator of the petition remains anonymous, student Matthew Brooks said he is a friend of the creator and was one of the first signers when the petition went live on the evening of Feb. 15.

“What we hope to accomplish is to remind those in administration that students are human too just like them and are bound to make mistakes,” Brooks said. “We hope to bring to their attention that the current zero tolerance system is unacceptable because it makes parking less accessible to current and future students.”

At the time of publication, the petition sits at 2,367 signatures. Among the many signers, student Alex Konczey expressed his support for the initiative.

“The increasing level of strictness when it comes to parking services has gotten pretty ridiculous since my freshman year,” Konczey said. “Students are already paying a lot to go here and to park. The least the school can do is cut us a little bit of slack.”

On the afternoon of Feb. 18, UNO administration released an announcement to students via email, writing the following:

“We hear you. We’re making changes … We are announcing that the violation waiver policy has been reinstated effective immediately. The reinstated policy mirrors the policy that was eliminated prior to this academic year: Students, residents, and faculty and staff may have one parking violation ($30 or less) waived per academic year. To be eligible for this waiver, a parking violation ($30 or less) must be filled out and returned to UNO’s Parking Services office within 30 days. After 30 days have passed, a violation will be sent to MavLINK for payment and cannot be waived. However, individuals can still pursue the appeals process after this date.”

The creators and promoters of the petition have yet to speak with administration regarding their concerns, but Brooks said they hope to once the petition has gained more traction.

“We do plan to meet with administration and have been in talks with members of student government who have represented us on this topic,” Brooks said. “We are fully aware of the formal announcement that UNO released, and we will be bringing to their attention that it is not enough. We intend to make the use of boots obsolete, return the two parking fee waivers per semester system and reduce the unnecessary parking tickets of $50-$100 for students that already have parking passes.”

UNO Student Body President and student regent Aya Yousuf was quoted in the email announcement and said the following:

“On behalf of the 15,000+ students at UNO, we are thankful for the change and believe it is the right step moving forward to ensure that the success and well-being of students is put first. Having the parking waiver will help current and incoming students better navigate and understand campus. We are grateful for our collaboration with the Business and Finance office and look forward to continuing our work to ensure students have accessible options to continue their education.”

While some desires of students have been met, and discussions continue on the topic, the petition continues to grow.

“We are extremely delighted to see the petition grow by the thousands in a matter of days,” Brooks said. “The petition has grown on its own with minimal outreach effort because students truly do care about this.”

To find more information about parking services and tips to avoid a violation, visit parking.unomaha.edu.

Comments

comments