Tensions around parking intensified on Monday, March 12, around noon after Assistant Vice President of Public Safety & Campus Police Ray Thrower sent out an email outlining changes to parking procedures next year.
Students have complained that parking has been undeniably snug this year. Students were pushed to take their cars back home and faculty and staff were relieved of their reserved spots and pushed out of their own deck to make room for students. With the student population continuing to swell, the landlocked Queens campus is reaching its limits.
Thrower’s email mentioned two big changes. The first was that freshmen will not be allowed to bring their cars. Second, students will be expected to pay for a parking permit. Residential students will have to pay $200 per semester, commuters $75 per semester and evening students $25 per semester. Students have never had to pay for parking before.
Sophomore class president Renée Brozowski said she understands that changes need to be made to free up a lot of spots because of the growth of Queens. She also made note that utilizing alternative methods of transportation is an important skill to have and its environmentally friendly. However, she also said her constituents are feeling upset and disrespected.
When it comes to the implementation of new parking prices, Brozowski said students feel as if the university is breaking promises and shattering expectations that Queens students had when they were accepted.
Students expressed feelings of being duped — expecting one thing when coming to campus, and then encountering a different reality.
“A major perk of Queens was parking,” current senior Brianna Paglia said. “As a freshman you could bring your car and expect to have a free place to park it for the next four years. Not many schools have that.”
Students were quick to email their discontent to Thrower, especially rising seniors who have to pay for parking their last year at Queens.
“I could understand if this is the fee for incoming students, but since we’ve arrived, we’ve been told parking is free, so it’s crazy to start charging so much after having to pay nothing.” NaBria Seymore, a rising senior, said.
With the new change forcing residential students to pay $400 a year on a parking permit, Brozowski said she thinks it’s too much too soon. “They [the university] owe it to the students to institute those changes more slowly,” she said. “It’s a very significant jump.”
Brozowski and rising senior Creshel Farmer both share the belief that a fair solution would be to grandfather current students into the process and then make all students pay for parking.
Student Government Association is planning a “Town Hall” for students to come and express their thoughts on the changes. Details about this event are expected to be released later this week.
At the time of publication, Parking and Transportation Coordinator Richard Smith nor Ray Thrower had given any further comment on the situation.