Many students make the drive from their homes to the University of Memphis campus every day for class, yet for many students the drive itself is not the source of their frustrations, but rather one major factor: parking.
The UofM states on its website that the campus has approximately 9,600 parking spots available on campus each day for students.
Yet, many of these parking spots are only available to students in special lots that require a $95 fee to use. Even teachers on campus are required to pay $47.30 per month to use these special lots. Sophomore journalism major Bryant Dacus said this practice does not sit well with him.
“For me, parking has not been as big of a problem because I get here at 8 a.m. every morning,” Dacus said. “However, I did have some very bad experiences in terms of parking lot issues and receiving tickets over the summer.”
Dacus serves as the sports director of the school’s radio station, WUMR, and said he received a ticket almost every day because the radio station temporarily moved to the Psychology Building on campus while it was remodeled over the summer.
“I tried to tell parking services that I was employed by the school, and that I followed the instructions given to me, but they brushed me off,” Dacus said.
Dacus is one of many students that have said they felt unjustly penalized for parking in spots they are entitled to utilize. For Martrell Brown, a freshman who stays on-campus and uses the parking lots surrounding his dormitory, run-ins with parking lot officials are frequent and unpleasant.
“I have gotten plenty of tickets for parking in various places that I reportedly should not have been,” Brown said. “It can be hectic at times, depending on what time you get on campus.”
Despite his experiences receiving ticket fees as high as $25, Brown does not seem to care about where he parks his vehicle or whether he gets penalized or not.
“I continue to get tickets because I park where I want to park,” Brown said. “However, most of the time, I park where I am supposed to park, and I end up getting a ticket anyways.”
Students who receive tickets have the ability to appeal their fines by going to the Student Government Office on the third floor of the University Center. The process begins by filing an appeal, and the judicial branch within the Student Government Association reviews every parking case.
Allison Banks, chief justice within the judicial branch, is tasked with relaying the results of the rulings.
“The purpose of parking appeals are so that students that feel their tickets were unjustified and they can see whether or not the court will take away the fine or reduce it,” Banks said. “All of the appeals are divided between three to four justices, and the decision to uphold or withdraw parking penalties depends on their decisions.”
With the University of Memphis consisting of around 22,000 students, the judicial branch surprisingly does not receive many parking appeals from students, as many accept the penalty of their transgressions and move on.
“Normally, we receive a lot of appeals the first and last week of a semester, but during a normal week, we receive between 40 appeals a week,” Banks said.