Let’s be honest, parking on campus can be confusing. Kaitie Walker (‘26) who lives in FSL housing can attest to this.
“One day we all go out to our cars and there’s just warning tickets on all of them. It didn’t say what they were, so you had to call… It turns out it was because we had the wrong parking pass because it’s a green lot. [However] there’s no sign that says, ‘Green Lot,’ and there was no green pass,” said Walker.
“They didn’t tell us what to do so we thought we all had to buy new passes… We’re like, ‘That’s not happening,’ because it’s another $300 pass. We ended up being able to switch it and now we have the green passes… but we were all like, ‘What?’” said Walker.
“[Then], they didn’t put a sign up for a month, and he was like, ‘Ye[s], I have the sign I just haven’t put it up yet…’ We were all like, ‘So can we park there? Where’s a green lot because there are no green lot signs.’ It was very confusing [because] they didn’t tell any of us they just gave us all warning tickets… They never sent an email or anything,” said Walker.
I had a similar experience to Walker that also involved an unexpected ticket and a lack of communication from Campus Safety: I opened my Outlook one day to see an email from parking regarding a violation for an “Improperly Affixed Permit.” I was baffled because I did not know how my permit– which was placed directly above last year’s pass– called for a $25 ticket.
After disputing the ticket, getting a new pass and then proving that I replaced the old one– which was on the right side instead of the left of my windshield– my appeal was denied. Campus Safety is charging me because my sticker was on the wrong side of the windshield, right above last year’s which never got so much as a warning.
I was even told by Campus Safety that as long as I changed the pass and gave them proof the fee would be waived. About a month later, the claim was still under appeal so I figured nothing would happen with it until I opened the portal one day to see that it was denied.
It is no secret that Campus Safety has doubled down on parking this year; the number of cars that have been towed speaks for itself. On one hand, the ability for those of us who have paid $300 for a teal parking permit to actually park in our lots is much appreciated. However, these changes to policy have not been communicated to students well and we are being inconvenienced as a result.
I was able to interview Matt Brown, Director of Campus Safety at Alma College, and he attached a comprehensive list of all of the updates added to the parking policy thus far. While reading the list, one major question arose in my mind: Why haven’t I seen this before?
I have no clue where one could access this information without asking Campus Safety themselves. Maybe it’s in the Student Handbook, but with how obscure the new Alma College website is I wish luck to anyone who braves the task of trying to find anything remotely informative on it.
All I know is this: many changes have been made regarding parking this year. However, the real question is, have these changes been effectively communicated to students?
“[It’s] kind of confusing how to contact [Campus Safety] because half the time they aren’t actually in. Every time I would go to Campus Safety, they would tell me to go to the CSO for the parking pass… I’d go there and they’d be like, ‘No, go to Campus Safety.’ It took me about a week to actually get my pass because I didn’t know when I was supposed to go or where,” said Walker.
While Campus Safety is making improvements to parking and has seemingly good intentions, their lack of communication is inconveniencing students who have better things to do than dispute tickets and scavenge for information that should be easily accessible.