Hard Pill to Swallow: Seniority Struggles

With increased parking issues across campus, there seem to be more problems than answers among students. However, many upperclassmen are vouching for their seniority to be put to use: separate underclassmen parking and offer priority parking for seniors. 

Proposed changes would reserve front-row spots in residential lots such as Kea-Guffin, Gough, Hainer, Sparrowk, Gallup and Eagle, as well as academic lots like Upper and Lower McInnis and the gym, exclusively for staff, graduate students and seniors. The remaining spaces would be divided between the juniors, sophomores and freshmen.

Eastern University webpage comments, “We strongly discourage our First-Year students from bringing vehicles to the area as there are limited First-Year parking spaces available.” However, this statement may give a false impression to outsiders that the university has a policy of separating first-year and senior parking spots. It’s important to note that the university does not have any such policy in place, and all students have unfettered access to the limited parking spots in every lot. 

To make matters more difficult, both Kea-Guffin and Gough are completely freshman dorms, so regulating and organizing that parking lot may prove to be tricky. However, it is worth noting that the upperclassmen living in Hainer and the upper-class Residence Life staff working in all three buildings would appreciate this move. 

While many freshmen express discontent with the proposed regulations, it’s essential to consider the alternative: a complete ban on freshman cars on campus. Such a dramatic measure would undoubtedly spark outrage among incoming students and their families and potentially deter prospective students from choosing Eastern University. However, amidst the dissent, some upperclassmen advocate for this extreme solution as a means of addressing the parking challenges. One unnamed junior voices their opinion, stating: “Eastern’s growing student population means parking is getting scarcer by the day.” Because of this, freshmen should only have a car on campus if they have an extenuating circumstance.” 

Even with the previous statement from Eastern, many freshmen are still unhappy with this idea of regulating their parking. One freshman, who also wished to remain anonymous, stated, “We should be able to park anywhere. We’re paying for the privilege of attending this university, and that should include convenient parking options.” 

Along with the price of tuition, students have to pay an additional price for a parking pass, which has raised problems of its own. Regardless of class, students must pay nearly $400 to obtain a single year’s worth of parking. However, the steep price has unfortunately failed to discourage many students from bringing their cars on campus. Instead, it has led to a situation where students are choosing to avoid purchasing parking passes and instead risk receiving parking tickets, which are a much more reasonable price, standing at $60. 

Adding to the frustration is the restriction of parking passes to specific lots, leaving students vulnerable to ticketing even after investing in a pass. Students who purchase parking passes for a particular lot may find themselves in a bind when their class schedule, extracurricular activities or other commitments require them to park in a different area. The restriction of parking passes also fails to account for the dynamic nature of campus life, where students frequently move between academic buildings, dormitories and recreational facilities throughout the day. This practice not only extends financial strain on students but also fails to address the root issues of availability. 

Evidently, the parking challenges at Eastern University present a complex issue with no easy solutions. While proposals for senior priority parking and segregated lots aim to alleviate the strain, they also raise concerns about fairness and accessibility. Additionally, the high cost and inflexible nature of parking passes escalate the problem, leaving students frustrated and financially burdened.

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