Parking tickets add up for students
Students continue to receive citations for illegal parking on campus. Those who commute to class argue that there is not enough available legal parking and student lots are too crowded.
The majority of tickets are given to students who park in unauthorized areas without proper identification. These areas include student sections without a permit sticker, handicapped spaces; staff parking and loading or maintenance zones.
Hundreds of these citations are issued to students every term according to Campus Safety Supervisor Robert McDilda.
“Most students pay their fines on time and handle the issue in a respectful manner,” said McDilda. “But there are those, about 20 percent of all ticketed persons, who either don’t pay their fine on time or who fail to pay their fine at all.”
Students who don’t pay fines within seven days of receiving a citation are given a warning and their student account is put on hold. This means they will not be able to access their transcripts or use their account to pay for classes, textbooks or meals in the Campus Center. Multiple parking offences may result in a conduct hearing with college admissions and, in special cases, extra fines may be added and administrative actions taken. Multiple offenders may be required to participate in on-campus community service or be revoked from certain classes and activities.
Policies on campus are much more lenient than punishments issued by the state and city according to Campus Public Safety Coordinator James Bennett.
“Just an example, if you park in a handicapped zone without proper tags on campus you get a $25 fine. In the city of Bend and pretty much anywhere else in Oregon, your fine will be at least $400. We have a very casual and lenient policy here,” explained Bennett.
This lenient policy doesn’t fix the problem for Kyle Coffman, a first-year political science student. Coffman thinks that comparing punishments is only avoiding the real issue.
“For me, it’s about the availability of parking. We park illegally because there is no parking close to our classes. If I wanted to walk a mile to class, I would’ve taken the bus,” said Coffman .
Over the years, COCC has taken measures to help alleviate the issue of overcrowded parking lots, such as adding the campus bus system and parking spaces. But with construction work, high enrollment and students wanting to park closer to their classes, citations continue to collect on windshields.