By Lily Barnette
As a person without a car on campus, a lot of the discourse around specific colored decals, two-hour parking, and car citations has never been a concern for me. Recently though, through my aimless scrolling on the Facebook Berea page, I read a story from a student, Katelynn Mrusek, who had received a citation from Public Safety. The story reads as follows:
“I walked up to my car when Public Safety was giving me a ticket. I was parked in a two-hour street parking space for about five minutes. Apparently, students with green decals are not allowed to park there because they want parking to be available for local businesses. I was only momentarily using the parking to run my groceries into my dorm. How is that fair? I pay for a green decal and it limits me to public parking? There wasn’t a single other car parked on the street that had at least ten street parking spaces on each side. Also, the Public Safety vehicle was right beside me when I parked and they had the opportunity to tell me about this new rule instead of ticketing me the second I walked away.”
When you open up the comments on this post, there are students filling the comments with their own experiences with Public Safety, mistakes made by Public Safety, and times in which they had to appeal to get their citation removed. Specifically, with Katelynn Mrusek, she used the parking space to run groceries into her dorm. On the page Green Decals for Resident Students, it does state that is allowed if you have your emergency flashers on (tip for the future!) but I feel as though this is not common knowledge among the car-using student body and Public Safety does not make these rules well-known.
My main concern, which was mentioned in the original Facebook post, is that two-hour parking is a citation zone for Public Safety to charge student drivers with green decals. The two-hour parking zone is supposed to be for people going to the local businesses along the College Square. This includes Papa Leno’s, Peace Craft, Appalachian Fireside Gallery, BC&T, and the Visitor Center which are all stores that students frequently go to. Why is it that Public Safety charges students for parking there, when most of the customers there are from the College itself? Students should not be given citations for parking in spaces reserved for businesses they are attending and buying things from, especially if there are plenty of other available parking spots open for outside visitors. As stated on the Motor Vehicle Policy for Students, it says “Any student who accumulates more than three (3) campus parking citations during a single academic year will be fined $100 and have parking privileges revoked.” Combine this with students parking in two-hour parking to use the businesses geared towards them then the punishment seems very extreme.