In recent weeks, students have begun to question parking pass requirements due to a recent increase to the permit fee, lack of upgrades and not enough parking spaces for students.
Permit fees for the semester cost $81, which has caused students to raise concern. Students have also expressed displeasure over the number of tickets being handed out and the strict regulations surrounding parking spaces on campus.
One person that works to enforce these regulations is Keith Molinari, director of public safety. Molinari explained that he has no control over what regulations the university enforces when it comes to parking passes. He said his issue is that he plans safety upgrades to campus years in advance, but is often met with cuts to the budget that he must then work with.
In 2018, Castleton introduced its first parking pass fee of $79 under then-President Karen Scolforo. Molinari explained that economic issues had begun to weigh on the university, leaving the college no choice but to enforce the pass to create a budget for paving, snow removal, cameras and equipment upgrades.
As it was when they were first implemented, revenue from permit fees goes towards a general fund and is dispersed throughout the campus for any upgrades.
Molinari said his solution to the issue would be enforcing a public safety fee that goes directly towards upgrades, getting rid of a parking pass and allowing even more changes to be made.
Molinari also said that a plate reader system could be a valuable addition to campus that would cut down on parking and safety issues.
“I can watch a car pull in, people get out with hoodies and (I have to) only work with silhouettes. With a plate reader, I have a plate and I can pin that card to a person and that person has to account for where the car was,” Molinari said.
Some students have said however, that their main concern is that the university doesn’t provide enough space for students to park.
Student Evan Smith said that there have been many times where he has struggled to find a space to even get to class.
“If I’m spending that much (money) on a commuter parking pass, then I should be able to park anywhere on campus,” Smith said.
Tucker Gaudette, another student, has been living off campus for four years. He mentioned having to risk getting punished for parking in other lots on campus.
“Most of the time, the parking lots are full, so you have to park where a pass isn’t required,” he said.
Student Ty Bowen said he has issues with giving the university money for a parking pass, especially given the amount of money he already spends on tuition and other additional fees.
“It doesn’t seem fair to add on more fees that aren’t included in tuition fees given to students already,” Bowen said.
Molinari said he would like to have more control of university policies so students can benefit from additional changes that could be made. He added that he has created an equal system for public safety officers by making them park in Hope Lot instead of at the public safety lot. He said that it’s only fair to students who deal with the same conditions each day.