Parking Proposal Unfair to Freshmen

To the Editor



A change is needed to the parking problem on this campus, but the current proposal is completely asinine ("Proposal Would Ban Freshman Parking on Spine," Nov. 19). The basic idea is to target a group that is not present to defend itself. The Office of Parking & Transportation will take the least flack from the next freshman class because by the time they get to campus the rules would be in place and there would be no way to fight them.

The most ostracized group on this campus is arguably commuter students, specifically freshmen. They do not have the same connection to the university that residence hall students have and as much as you try to reach out to them it is never enough. Freshmen commuter students will have to park in an outlying parking lot and ride a shuttle past hundreds of available closer spaces while they watch residence hall students drive, essentially across the street, and park even closer than them. Who knows the reasoning behind this? I am a commuter currently, but I did live on campus for a year and half and I can honestly say that there is no reason that you should need to drive from Ellicott or South Lake or any residence hall to the spine.

Having student representatives on every shuttle for the first two weeks will not make much of a difference for freshmen commuter students. What student is going to be willing to wake up and be happy and excited to ride a 7 a.m. shuttle greeting each student with, "Welcome to UB and can I help you?" This year's trial run of having students at each shuttle stop for the first two weeks of the semester was far from successful. Most of the time the students were huddled in the corner of a shelter and were unrecognizable even though they were wearing bright orange vests. If you didn't know what they were there for you would never even approach them, assuming that they looked approachable.

Finally, this proposal has gone through many areas of this campus with little to no student input. If the Office of Parking & Transportation is looking for an opinion then they need to get out there and ask for it, not sit in their office in Spaulding and hope that students come along. Students, think back to your freshman year and think about how horrible it would be to have to park out in Center for Tomorrow while Joe Sophomore, Junior or Senior drives from Fargo to Jarvis, because that is what this campus is coming to.