Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, October 23, 2018

High parking rates a problem for workers

As a university committed to social responsibility and commitment to social justice, we have so many examples of unfairness on our campus.

The Student Worker Alliance has been fighting to change many of them, one of the most pressing being the issue of parking on campus.

All full-time workers at AU are charged the same parking fee of $1,476 per year, and, for the workers who make $24,000 a year, this is 6 percent of their salary.

For struggling workers who have to pay for housing, childcare, food bills, this parking fee is unnecessarily high.

The argument for high parking fees is that it will encourage people to take public transportation rather than to drive to work, but what President Neil Kerwin has ignored is that most workers do not make enough to be able to afford to live close enough to campus to take public transportation.

The Student Worker Alliance has been tirelessly advocating to Kerwin and other administrators for a scaled parking permit based on how much workers make.

After repeated letters and emails to him, Kerwin sent us back a letter addressing our concern and saying he would meet with us as early as possible in the spring semester.

However, last week at Kerwin’s social responsibility table talk, when our group brought up having a meeting with him, he looked completely appalled that we would ask for this and it seemed like he thought an open forum was a substitute for a constructive, personal meeting.

It is essential for us to meet with him before the budget meeting this summer because we need to solidify this into next year’s budget, rather than having another year where workers are being completely overcharged for what should be a provided service. A meeting is necessary because it is more efficient that back and forth letters and emails, and, with the budget committee meeting approaching, we don’t have that kind of time.

We strongly urge president Kerwin to keep his promise and meet with us in order to start forming a concrete solution to this severe problem. Then, we can truly be the socially responsible campus that he desires.

Ethan Miller CAS ’13 and Katy Giguere SIS ’15 are members of the student-worker alliance.

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