Castleton University students rack up a lot of parking tickets on campus.
Twelve out of 20 students interviewed last week said they have received a ticket and some have had more than one. Their excuses ranged from “I didn’t know I couldn’t park there” to “I was late to class.”
But some students say they’ve been pretty good at avoiding tickets too.
Senior Karsen Woods described her near-ticket experience when a Public Safety officer was at her car in the Admissions parking lot. She said she swiftly walked over to her car and began her plea.
“He asked if this was my car. I replied, saying yes, but I just was showing my professor these books for a second,” she said.
Thinking quick witted while she held two books in her arms, she later said she was surprised her excuse fooled the “intimidated” officer.
“I park there Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 80 percent of the semester and have never got a ticket,” Woods said.
Sara Harrison wasn’t so lucky. While doing an interview for an assignment, she parked in the South House parking lot for only five minutes when the ticket bandit delivered a present. She immediately went to Public Safety and appealed saying she was dropping off a camera for Leavenworth’s Sam Green. The officer gave her a warning after hearing she was only there for a short time.
Some students refuse to pay – period (although don’t try this because you won’t be able to graduate with outstanding tickets).
“I pay $30,000 to this place, I ain’t paying a ticket,” said one student who asked to remain anonymous and who also said he rips up his tickets when he gets them.
Keith Molinari, Castleton Public Safety director, wracked his memory for crazy excuses students have used to get out of paying for parking tickets.
“There was one I do remember, a kid saying ‘I was too drunk to drive,’ meaning someone parked, then got to drinking and left their car,” he said.
But the former police officer in Sullivan County, New York, said he heard plenty of excuses as a cop.
“As a police officer, I used to hear things like, ‘I had to use the bathroom.’ I had one guy actually defecate on himself. He was actually in a rush to go to the bathroom. I did not write him a ticket, since it would have been an insult to injury,” Molinari said with a chuckle.
He also said that students need to know neither he nor his department makes any money off the tickets and he said he’s actually pretty lenient.
“I don’t get commission off tickets, so I just do my job and write tickets,” added Molinari.
Dean of Administration Scott Dikeman collects the money and adds it to the college’s general fund for miscellaneous, Molinari said.
Dikeman, in an email response, said the university collected $28,375 in parking ticket revenue last year and the average over the last five years has been $28,053.
“It should be noted that 10 years ago, the revenue was as high as $45,057 and was historically in the high $30,000’s-low $40,000’s. It began to trend down after 2010,” he said. “Year to date this year is on par with last year.”