Colin Harris Contributing Writer
Parking has been a long held complaint of many UMF students of all years, from freshman who dread the long walks from the parking lots by Prescott fields and behind the FRC to commuting upperclassmen who can never seem to find a spot. Another grievance is the sight of a parking ticket on the windshield. Annually, UMF collects roughly between $40,000 to $50,000 in parking-related expenses, including parking tickets, decals, and fines.
Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Brock Caton said in an email interview “I do not handle the finances for the University so I don’t know the specifics, but I do know that some of the revenue does support the UMF infrastructure to improve and maintain the parking lots on campus, including annual maintenance.” Such maintenance includes fixing the lots, painting lines, lighting and signage, among other things.
Caton has been working for the department of public safety since October of 2012. He was originally hired as the Police Sergeant before taking over as the Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police in July of 2013.
To avoid parking fees, Caton advises UMF students, as well as community members, to obtain a parking decal at the beginning of each year, to read the Parking Policy Brochure given out when given a parking decal, which is also available at Public Safety office located near the FRC, and to familiarize themselves with the parking lots around campus.
Amy Hodge, a first-year student here at UMF has obtained numerous parking tickets in just their first semester of college. “As of right now I currently have four parking tickets from being here since fall semester.”
Hodge attributes these violations to parking in lots that were not designated to her. “Most, if not all, of the tickets I’ve gotten were from lot 7 [located between Scott Hall and Old South Congregational Church],” Hodge said. With this many tickets, Hodge has had to pay over $50 in parking fees so far.
“Parking ticket costs increase each time a ticket is issued,” Caton said. “First offense is $10 per violation. Second offense is $15 per violation. Third and subsequent offenses are $25 per violation.” It is important to note that a UMF community member can receive multiple violations per ticket.
“Parking tickets not paid within 10 business days are assessed a $10 late fee, and the parking ticket is placed on the student’s account, which may create a hold on the account until paid,” Caton said.
First-year students at UMF are assigned parking lots P18, located near Prescott Athletic Fields, P21 near Alice James Books, P22 which is next to P21 and P26 which is behind the FRC.
Other repeat offenders of these parking rules include guests. Guests that plan on staying at UMF overnight or late at night need to obtain a guest parking decal. Caton said, “Guest parking decals are free and are good for 48 hours.”
The UMF parking brochure states that the objective of parking at UMF is, “to maximize the use of parking facilities so it is necessary to establish and enforce policies governing motor vehicles operating and/or parking on campus.