The Oxford Eagle
With the campus population increasing each year, the nightmare of on campus parking seems to only be getting worse.
When school began earlier this fall, it marked the 20th year that enrollment at the University of Mississippi has increased. With a record-breaking freshman class and a 3.6 percent increase in overall enrollment, there are now more then 23,000 students attending the university.
This growth is a thing to be celebrated, however there are some issues that stem from said growth.
Many of the students in Oxford own cars. Students who come from off-campus homes have to park their cars somewhere during class, while those who live on campus must park their cars somewhere when they are not driving it.
Neilson Jacobs, a sophomore at the university who lives in one of the fraternity houses, said UM could be more lenient with the tickets.
“I’ve gotten a ticket at the math lab while I was taking a test before,” he said, “and I wasn’t inconveniencing anyone as far as parking availability goes.”
Students on campus also believe there is more that the university could do to solve this parking problem.
“I think that it is poorly managed,” Jacobs said. “Parking is always packed, and it seems unorganized. If they know how many people purchase spots, then they should have enough parking to accommodate all the people who have a parking pass in that region.”
Jacobs said construction near the student union has also contributed to parking issues.
“I don’t see why they would choose to close off the union parking lot during the school year,” he said. “They could have likely waited until next summer or completed it before school started.”
The university offers a number of different commuter permits for students who live off campus and need to park in certain places. Also, they offer residential permits for students who live in certain dorms or certain fraternity or sorority houses.
Along with those options, the university offers a Park-N-Ride service, which allows students to park near the math lab and take a bus back to campus. Towards the end of 2013, the university began work on a parking garage near the football stadium that finished construction before school started this year.
While leaving your house early because you have to park in the commuter lots can be aggravating, there are only so many of those precious commuter passes sold, and the early bird gets the worm.
When students miss out on purchasing a parking pass, parking tickets come into play. If a student needs to be on campus, and they own a car, chances are they are going to try to find a parking spot they think they can get away with parking in.
This is where parking tickets come into play, which can cost anywhere from $25 to $200. Prices can go up depending on the location of the vehicle and how many times a student receives a ticket in the same location.
Jacobs is not the only student dealing with parking tickets. Junior David Pompey lives off campus and experiences similar problems due to his lack of a commuter-parking pass.
“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “I’m not very fond of them. While there definitely has to be some order or authority, some of the tickets (parking attendants) give out are ridiculous. Even outside of my fraternity house, I have gotten numerous tickets for parking in the driveway, which is supposedly a restricted area.”
Pompey said he’d love to tell the university to be more forgiving about tickets.
“In regards to parking near Fraternity Row and the Tad Pad, they could improve the situation by creating more parking or be more specific in designating where everyone parks,” he said.
Not all students view the university’s parking situation in a negative light. Matthew Tracy, a sophomore who lives on campus, wants to give credit to the university where credit is due.
“I think that the university’s idea to build the parking garage near Vaught-Hemingway was genius,” Tracy said. “There is only so much land on campus and the parking garage takes full advantage of the small amount that it uses.
“With the convenience of the parking garage so apparent, I don’t see why the university didn’t do something similar with the commuter lots.”
Tracy said he understands that parking attendants aren’t necessarily out to get students.
“All of the parking attendants are seemingly obligated to write tickets if a car is technically parked illegally, primarily because they are paid to do so,” he said. “That is easier for me to say than others, considering I was fortunate enough to get a parking pass. However, there will always be scenarios in which questionable parking tickets are given, especially on a campus, with so many people.”
With the student population rising each year, it is unlikely that these parking issues will simply dissipate. The university seems to be doing all that they can at the moment to ensure that current students have somewhere to park, and that future students will not be faced with the same issue.
I’m from Dallas, Texas and I am an aspiring sports journalist.