Two Colloquies Needed to Discuss Parking

Allie Brennhofer

When Senate is faced with difficult or time-consuming topics, Student Senate has the option to enter a colloquy– a specified amount of time where people speak popcorn style– which is kept out of the meeting’s minutes. It is proposed and must be voted upon unanimously to pass. Senate took two such colloquies of eight minutes each and twenty minutes to discuss measures proposed by the Parking Citation and Appeals Committee.

The measures proposed for discussion were: the matter of allowing freshmen to have cars on campus, installing parking meters for visitors, and turning parking lot number one into commuter parking. These proposals were simply ideas, and it was stated that nothing would change this year. This was to gain student perspective on possible ideas.

Most senators quickly agreed it was unfair to not allow freshmen to bring cars to campus, but some still sought other solutions.

“How often do you go back to the furthest lot and it’s empty? If we restrict freshmen with vehicles and say you can only park in the furthest back lot,” Internal Affairs Chair Gabe Graves said, which prompted a wave of laughter. “I think it’s important to understand that walking that far is not atypical. You go to other campuses and walk fifteen minutes to get to class and you’re lucky.”

To put the parking costs and time into perspective, External Affairs Chair Maggie Beasley offered a comparison.

“Just to put it into perspective, the U of M, if you want to park two miles from campus, it is $400,” she said.

Some senators referenced ignorance and a lack of education on the part of students as the reason discussion like this was needed. A need for new educational materials on proper parking locations was referenced by many senators, such as a training session or something included in the freshmen orientation.

“We have more than enough spots. The problem is people are getting citations for everything. And then they’re getting upset. And there’s been faculty who have complained about the parking,” Beasley said, in reference to the idea that more parking lots were needed.

Discussion went on, some senators disapproved of the idea of relegating freshmen to Lot 17.

“The more we talk about it, the more it sounds like an educational issue … Implementing new rules will only add more confusion, especially if it doesn’t actually address the issue at hand,” Graves said.

Beasley said she would bring the thoughts and ideas of Senate to the Parking Citation and Appeals Committee, which she and Vice President Monica Boyer both sit on.

Earlier in the meeting, State Representative Jennifer Schultz spoke to Senate about the importance of issues like health care, addressing gerrymandering, and keeping democracy healthy. She encouraged all senators to run for public office and work on campaigns to gain experience in issues that matter.

The School of Business and Technology Student Club requested $450 for food and materials for meetings. They received $439.50 to allow for Financial Handbook regulations.

This request left the General Fund with $2,719.33 for the semester.