Commuters face unfair parking policy

By Alexa Lago, Opinion Editor

The University of Akron has faced its fair share of backlash over the past couple of months. Between the cutbacks they have inflicted, the low graduation rate, President Proenza’s ridiculous contract and some interesting new programs, the university has faced quite a few trials.

However, this semester a new policy has been put in place that can only be described as useless and a moneymaker.

The new overnight parking policy requires any commuting student that parks at UA between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. to purchase an overnight parking sticker that costs $40. With the purchase of this “special” sticker, they are allowed to park in only the East Campus Parking Deck, the South Campus Parking Deck and the Central Hower lot overnight.

If commuting students don’t want to pay the $40 fee, instead they may spend $6 each time they want to park overnight.

This is the most asinine policy that has been put in place this year so far. Students, who are already paying $160 for both fall and spring semesters and $120 if they take summer courses now have to pay extra money if they want to park within a three-hour window.

This ingenious three-hour window gives the university yet another way to take even more money from their students, who have already faced a 2 percent tuition increase this semester.

The University of Akron’s Parking and Transportation Services website said that the reason for this new policy is from the amount of “operating and maintenance costs” that commuters who park overnight rack up. They also claim it is because of the amount of parking spaces commuters take up overnight.

The website even goes as far as to boast that the new policy “will result in more convenience for most commuters.”

This is in no way shape or form more convenient for commuters. How is it convenient for them to be forced to pay an extra $40 per semester to park in one of the three parking decks overnight? Or instead be charged $6 every time they choose to park overnight?

How is this in any way convenient for commuters when it comes to available parking?

Unless classes are now being held at 2 a.m., it’s hard to see where the dire need for parking spaces in the middle of the night comes in.

For anyone who has been on campus past 11 p.m., you are well aware of the abundant amount of parking spaces on campus. There are more than enough parking spaces available at six o’clock in the evening, let alone at two in the morning.

It’s important to address all these so called “operating and maintenance costs” the university has for the parking decks.

According to The University of Akron’s website, they have over 28,000 students.

So let’s assume that at least 13,000 are regular full-time students. If 13,000 students are already charged their $160 parking permit fee, the university ends up with $2,080,000 for both the fall and spring semesters.

Now obviously this is just a rough estimate, but still it’s safe to assume they are at least earning somewhere around this much money. That should be more than enough to pay for upkeep on their parking decks.

If it’s not then why not just raise everyone’s parking pass by $10?

It’s absurd to say that students parking overnight cause that much more damage to the parking decks.

The majority of students who are parking overnight are already parked in the parking decks to go to class. If they stay overnight at a friend’s dorm room or an apartment nearby and still attend class the next day, how much damage is their car really doing?

Does the extra eight hours it sits in the parking deck really cause that much of a problem? Or cause enough of an issue that the $160 parking fee that they’ve already paid can’t cover?

The university does need money to keep the parking decks up. They need it to keep them clean, to replace lights, to fix damage and to pay people to run them.

It’s totally understandable that students have to pay money each semester to park in the parking decks. But it’s not right to take more money away from the commuting students.

They pay just as much as the resident students do for their parking passes and should be able to use them whenever they want as well.

It’s not fair for the university to have created three hours a night where they are not allowed to utilize their passes without paying $6 each time they do it or buying a $40 pass.

Students pay more than $10,000 a year to attend The University of Akron and within the tuition is already the $160 fee that they are charged twice a year for parking.

If commuters want to park their car at 2 a.m. in the parking decks, they should be allowed to without being charged an extra fee.

It’s hard to believe that money and space are actually the issue. It just seems like a scheme that allows the university to get more money that they don’t need.