Wednesday, October 11, 2006

UND: bloodsucker

I think that the University is trying to leach every last cent of future money they can from me. Specifically, I think they are trying to punish me for hanging out with my boyfriend.

Let me explain: here at UND we have a parking problem. That's nothing new or unique; from what I understand most universities have a parking problem and this has been a topic of contention since I've been a freshman (and according to my cousin, for a lot longer).

For the most part, I haven't complained. I tried to go my freshman year without buying a parking permit, but it was impossible (and of the streets anywhere NEAR here you can't park on 7 days a week). Yes, it was a bit annoying to have to walk 4 blocks away to get to my car at night, especially when it's so freezing here for half the year, but you deal.

But it's becoming too much. I've already racked up 190 dollars worth of tickets, and I've had enough (and only half of which I "deserved").

First and foremost, parking permits are 50 dollars this year. My freshman year (3 years ago) they were 43 dollars. (As a side note, my raise as a student employee during that time has gone up 50 cents an hour). But, aside from the fact that the price has gone up at much higher rate than my paycheck, the number of parking spaces has gone down, and I haven't seen the parking areas being maintained. They are building a parking garage on the east side of campus, which will hopefully help this (in a few years). HOWEVER, they put this parking garage in a rather silly spot (it would have made more sense to make it centrally located: behind Tabula would have been nice) and this means those of us who are shelling out 50 bucks have LESS parking spots than what we did last year, for more money. The parking lot behind Tabula is still not paved, and if you live at Johnston/Fulton/ Smith dorm you have to go through an unlit area to get to your car.

I didn't (and still don't) have 50 bucks for a parking permit. "Shoestring" budget doesn't begin to cover it. Here's what I have received tickets for:

15 dollar ticket: Service vehicle area for longer than a half hour. This ticket was at 6 PM, and I was unaware that it was timed after that. This is an unmarked parking spot.

5 dollar ticket: Parking over a half hour at half hour zone. I had my car in the Memorial Union Parking lot to talk to student government. This took me longer than a half hour, so in that time, I went and moved my car to another parking spot in the same parking lot. I was still ticket

25 dollar ticket: no permit shown in a G lot. This was Saturday at the airport: I missed the shuttle to the airport and was running late. I didn't have the permit because I couldn't afford the permit in the first place.

Three 25 dollar tickets: For being in the visitor's lot for more than 3-days. The visitor's lot in question is my boyfriend's place (he lives at on-campus apartments). At no point have I ever been in that visitor's lot for 72-consecutive hours.

Of those tickets, the 5, 15, and two 25 dollar tickets have doubled because I couldn't pay them within 14 calendar days. 190 dollars total (to date), and will probably continue to go up because I don't get paid.

I'm appealing all of these tickets: even the ones where they have me to rights (such as the one at the airport). Not that it makes much of a difference: there is no clear procedure for appealing the tickets, and it's highly subjective: there are no precedent for whose tickets get overturned and those who don't. I also am getting the distinct impression that the parking enforcement officers are following me: I see the same parking officer at least 3 times a day.

I can't pay for the permit, I can't pay the fines, and I sure as hell can't pay the doubled fines. I don't know what the university expects from the students: we pay through the nose to not be able to have a parking spot anywhere near our actual classes in one of the coldest universities in the world, and then charges us extra when we're strapped for cash.

This has to stop. The parking areas should be clearly marked and the fines shouldn't double; or at least there should be some way for someone who can't pay the ticket right away to defer it with out the price increasing. I've decided to write an article for the Dakota Student, and pick a whole bunch of appeals forms. Every time I see a ticket on someone's windshield, I'm going to put an appeal paper underneath it with instructions on how to file for appeal. There needs to be some sort of written protocol for the appeal's process, and one should be able to file them online. Until that happens, every single student should file an appeal. If they are going to waste our money, we should waste theirs.


At 7:24 PM, Blogger Em said...

Hello -
Totally unrelated to this post, but I just wanted to drop you a note. You just backed me up over at Feministe where I was pretty angry at zuzu tossing out the term "shitty pilot". I clicked over here just because I was curious about who you were, and realized you're a student at UND and (from what I could gather after a quick profile glance) also an aviation student. I wanted to write you over here rather than on Feministe.
A big reason that I got so upset at this "shitty pilot" moniker is that I was a friend of Heather McRoberts. Did you know her?
I know this is strange, but I had to ask - it was too much of a coincidence to not wonder if you were coming from a similar position as me. Or an even more severe one, rather, since I'm not a pilot (not yet, at least...)

(and I happened to see a couple of your old entries. UTIs are awful, and I got a lot of the same crap you did whenever I had to deal with one. And that was in Massachusetts. Go figure. Not on the scale of Biting Beaver's ordeal, but still sucky)


At 10:11 PM, Blogger Goddess Cassandra said...

I didn't know Heather personally, but I did know of her. I read about her in our newspaper; about her crash in Colorado. It was very sobering, both because I didn't think that anyone ever really crashed, and it's a realization that it can happen to me. Everything I heard about her was that she was an excellent pilot: if she could crash (and it was hardly her fault) then what keeps me from crashing?

So yeah: it's a bit sore; she wasn't a "Shitty pilot", she was a great pilot but there are always things that can come up.

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard this "less parking space than last year" argument, but I don't really understand it. Other than a few parking meters on the north side, the entire Swanson parking lot was "A" lot.. that'd be "reserved for administration, faculty & staff". Diminishing the "A" space shouldn't have affected student parking in any way shape or form. Yes, there is some construction on the east side of Columbia, but that's primarily affecting the "H" lot, which still sits half-empty regularly.

Compared to schools like the U of MN, we do not have anything approaching a parking problem. They think walking a mere four blocks a dream. And for what it's worth (probably very little), if you think prices in that fancy parking garage are going to be affordable to students, you have another think coming. Particularly since you admit you can't afford a $50 annual parking permit to begin with.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Goddess Cassandra said...

1) Our availability is reduced because we now have an influx of teachers parking in the S and G lots (where do you think the teachers are going to park? On top of buildings?) They sold the same amount of parking permits (well, actually the sold more) for less spots.

2) Our availbility is also reduced because of building in what used to be the Swanson lot. Again, the Swanson students have to move somewhere.

3) I don't CARE if other places have it worse. I care that I have it bad. I hate the statements like "it could be like place X" because there is always an underlying threat: do this or we'll make it worse.

4) It's not a "mere" four blocks when you are a) doing it multiple times a day and b) it's freezing.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but you're incorect in (1) and (2). While faculty could move to brown lots, most of them didn't (which you could see by simply looking at the UND daily parking lot availability stats on their website). People with "a" lot tags cannot park in "s" lots, except after 5 , when parking becomes a free-for-all anyway.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a world full of death, war, starvation, and tension, its entertaining to read about the struggles that some people think are important

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Teddy said...

anonymous, I'm going to be crass here. Fuck off.

I've been told by a good many people that my particular sob story (bad family, birth defect) is not the sobbiest they have heard. Nevertheless, it is mine, and when people belittle my experience with african warlords and genocide, it's nothing but a slap in the face. Really, quite rude. If it makes you feel better about your life that other people suffer worse, I think you need serious counseling.


At 4:06 PM, Blogger Goddess Cassandra said...

I've seen the University's stats, and frankly, I believe they are lying. Or rather, I believe that they are adjusting their numbers: they took it not at high traffic times (like in the morning around 9-10). There are plenty of those A tabs in the G lots, and there aren't a lot of tickets.

People with "A"s can park in S as well.

To the annon: First, you should put up a handle. I find it annoying to not be able to address a name. Two, if you don't like this topic, go somewhere else: it's currently a free internet.

And you know something else? I'm not the only student struggling to make ends meet. This is damned important, the fact that we can't catch a break from the university.

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A (Red): This permit is issued to faculty and staff that qualify for an A permit. This permit allows them to park in any A (red) lot or G (brown) lot.

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't feeling BETTER about my life, Teddy. I was suggesting that some people are so immature and self-absorbed that they count their good fortune to be a tragedy. Sometimes, folks DO need a good slap in the face. I cannot believe you are seriously equating a physical handicap to the "inconvenience" of walking four blocks.

And like HELL I'm going to post my name on here at this time, with infantile persons around and attitudes like this next thing you know someone will file a restraining order because I told them they were acting like a baby.

By the way, sorry about the double post earlier.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Goddess Cassandra said...


I didn't say put your name, I said put a handle. If you are computer stupid, that means a name that you use online. It doesn't have to be your name.

Secondly, it's important that people can't make ends meet, and that the university is making harder. It's not just about having to walk: it's about the university overcharging, and harrassing students with parking tickets.

Again, if you think this is "selfish and immature" no one is forcing you to post here. What, precisely, are you doing to end war and starvation? Trying to shut people up about problems that aren't as important as "big" issues, but issues that are solvable isn't doing anything about big issues either.

I fixed your double post.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, 50 bucks is downright cheap for a parking permit. Just about any other decent sized college will have higher. Also, buying a permit would have got you out of the parking tickets and actually saved you money. And who cares if a parking lot isn't paved? A place to park on gravel is exactly the same as parking on brand new concrete or asphalt.


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