As many AU students angrily discover, Public Safety tickets cars belonging to AU students if they’re parked in the neighborhood surrounding campus, even if those cars have Zone 3 permits to park on the streets. This parking policy, which Vice President of Campus Life Gail Hanson admits is “counterintuitive,” rightfully confounds and maddens many AU students.
AU’s parking policy restricts student parking on the residential streets surrounding the main campus, Tenley campus and the Washington College of Law. Also, the policy says that when students purchase a campus parking permit, which costs $832, they agree to forfeit their $115 Zone 3 permit.
Student leaders have been pressuring Public Safety and administrators to define which streets they will be ticketing on and which they may legally park on. However, AU does not want to give guidelines of where it will be ticketing because students will then just park a block past that point.
There are several flaws with AU’s policy. Chief among them is the fact that Public Safety is giving tickets to every car that it suspects belongs to a student. Public Safety should have no jurisdiction off campus. Basically, it is bringing a “guilty until proven innocent” mentality to the problem. Local residents who legally park in front of their homes could be ticketed under the current system and have to go through Public Safety’s red tape to clear it up. A system of (essentially) randomly ticketing all cars in an area and seeing who will pay reeks of greed.
AU definitely has an obligation to the community to keep student cars from taking over their streets. There’s no reason for a local resident to be denied a parking space in front of his own house. However, the current policy is unfair and a poorly constructed way to deal with the problem.
In its parking permits, AU sells the privilege to park in certain areas, but is not giving concrete guidelines about that right. This is a misguided concept for an institution that’s supposed to have students’ best interests at heart.
It seems that the biggest problem, aside from the high cost of an AU parking permit, is the lack of available parking on campus. It seems AU should focus more on on-campus parking than getting more money and keeping the neighbors happy. After all, by giving students clear guidelines, even if they want to avoid ticketing they’ll have to park away from AU’s immediate neighbors anyway. Your nifty construction projects will still be safe.