The University of Mississippi Student Traffic Appeals Board serves students by educating them about campus parking policies and providing them the opportunity to appeal their citations.
Students who receive a parking citation on campus can visit the board to ask questions about a parking policy or about their citation. The board aims to help students by clearing up any confusion they have about parking policies on campus.
“When a student receives a parking citation, most of the time they are very confused why they got the citation,” said Amanda Taylor, who has served on the board for two years. “When students come to us, we can explain the policies behind the citation, and it helps them understand why they received it.”
The five-member board exists under the judicial branch of the Associated Student Body. There are members at every appeals meeting. Those who serve on the board are all students. The process ensures each appeal is determined by a “jury” of peers.
The board also serves as a forum for students who have received a parking citation to present a case to fellow students about why the citation should be removed. This is often the main reason students visit the board. Referred to as the appeals process, students visit the board to receive a warning.
“To receive a warning for a parking citation you have to appeal it through the board either online or in person,” said Taylor. “Another confusion most students have is that they will be automatically warned for a first offense citation. Every warning given has been appealed and reviewed by our board.”
Since the beginning of the school year in August, the board has issued 3,950 warnings.
“If you feel like you should not have been given a citation, then you can come to us and explain why,” Taylor said. “We look at parking policy and decide if the citation was incorrectly given to you. If so, we warn or dismiss the citation. If not, appeals are assessed a $5 appeal fee.”
The board, as a part of the Associated Student Body, also serves as an advocate for students as they work to improve parking rules and policies with the Department of Parking and Transportation.
“We try to be a voice for students,” said Antonio Battista, co-chair of the Parking Appeals Board. “If we see a policy that is unfair for students, we work with the parking department to try and make the policy better.”
The board also listens to student concerns and recommends to the parking department ways to make parking rules more understandable for students.
“Last year, we had a ton of students receiving $200 handicap citations for parking in the RH1 handicap lot,” said Battista. “We learned from students appealing their citations that they did not know the entire lot was a handicap lot and thought one-half of the lot was an unloading zone. We suggested to the parking department that a sign be placed at the entrance to the lot and within the week the sign was up. Since then, there have been way less citations in that location.”
Alexandra Gersdorf, the newest member of the Student Traffic Appeals Board, offers tips to students from her recent training. Gersdorf joined the board in January 2018.
“I would recommend to all students that have a parking decal, or who park on campus, that they regularly read the parking manual and review the parking zones map,” she said.
Gersdorf said students can review the paper copies given to them with their decal or visit olemiss.edu/parking anytime for the most up to date parking information. The Student Traffic Appeals Board encourages anyone confused about parking policies to contact them, even if you have not received a citation, for clarification.
“We always recommend coming and asking us, or the parking department, questions before it is too late and you are walking out of class with that dreaded white paper ticket hanging off your windshield,” said Gersdorf. “We can help you understand the parking policies better and how to avoid receiving tickets before they happen. The most dreaded citation someone can receive is definitely a handicap citation. These citations have a fine of $200.”
The most common types of traffic citations the Student Traffic Appeals Board receives appeals for are restricted parking and improper parking. “These are when students park in a different zone than the one they are supposed to with their decal, or they park over a white line,” said Taylor.
The Student Traffic Appeals Board is located in Somerville Hall room 110, attached to the ROTC building behind the Student Union. The board hears appeals Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-3:30 p.m.
For more information about the Student Traffic Appeals Board or parking policies on the University of Mississippi campus, contact the Department of Parking and Transportation or visit olemiss.edu/parking.
Note: Aleka Battista, the author of this article, is married to Antonio Battista, who is quoted in this story.