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Graduate Student Senate: Potential parking fee promotes deliberation

Recent budget cuts may cause Ohio University parking fees to change in the upcoming academic year.

Not only may faculty and staff have to start paying to park, but also students may have to pay for parking during the summer if a proposal submitted to the Board of Trustees from the Parking Vehicle Violation Committee is adopted Friday.

"The reason why these changes are going to happen is because parking is looking at around a $432,000 parking deficit," said Jeff Barbee, a representative for the School of Music. "So what we have been doing for the past month or two has been looking at ways to offset that deficit."

If the proposal is passed, faculty and staff would be required to pay a $150 flat rate for the year, while students would be required to pay a $35 charge for summer parking in addition to the normal cost of a permit, said Marty Paulins, director of transportation and parking.

"We started enforcing summer parking two years ago," he said. "Midway through our second year, we started to realize that we were starting to have some problems ... (and) we started to make changes along the way to accommodate parking for graduate students."

Graduate students work more and carry a large load for OU, Paulins said, adding that the university took this into account and opened up free parking for graduate students during the summer because of this.

It was also proposed that Parking Services use a sliding scale that would charge faculty based on how much they are paid.

Three of Ohio's peer institutes already base faculty parking on salary, including Clemson University, Indiana University and the University of Connecticut, said Graduate Student Senate President Tracy Kelly.

"None of them have their lowest price at about $40," she said. "They all run at about $75. ... I think that discussion about all of these could be very beneficial for all of us, and our constituents in the long run."

Graduate Student Senate also discussed instituting charges for Halloween weekend parking and charging for visitors to use the lots.

"(These are) ideas that look great on paper, but once they are put into reality, you run into a bunch of problems," Barbee said, adding that enforcement of the policies would cost the university more money and acquisition of the passes could also be problematic.

Graduate Student Senate plans to convene at a later date to talk about other ways to offset the deficit without charging for faculty and summer parking. The senate will submit its recommendations to OU sometime in the future.


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