By Elijah Horman
Nearly halfway through the summer, William Peace University’s Office of Public Safety announced that parking regulations would change, a decision that many feel have had an adverse effect on the student body.
Under the new regulations, commuter students can park in the Main parking lot, gravel lot, Franklin or Harp streets. Students who live on campus can only park on Delway Street or the Davidson/Ross lots.
“Parking is a bit unfair,” said Peyton Winstead, a WPU senior and exercise sport science major. “For students that are already here and used to parking in the main lot, the last minute change was unfortunate to the upperclassmen.”
At face value, designating specific parking lots for specific students isn’t a terrible idea. While in past years parking has been manageable, this year’s freshman class has put a strain on the system due to the increased size compared to the previous graduating class. The way in which it has been segmented, however, is cause for concern among many students.
One of the issues with the assignments is that resident upperclassmen usually have to park on Delway Street on the far side of campus. Several students have jobs and shifts can end late enough that students return to campus past dark. This means that students will walk across the, somewhat poorly lit, Bingham lawn alone.
Staff are sharing the Main lot, Franklin street and Harp street.
Another issue with parking is simply the sheer quantity of vehicles WPU is attempting to accommodate. WPU is growing and with that growth parking gets progressively more difficult. Now this is leading to some students utilizing public parking along the street, or metered parking off campus.
“Last year, students heading Student Government had come and said that they they’re hearing a lot from the commuter side that they student comes in at 9:30 can’t find a parking spot,” said John Cranham, director of facilities.
It is clear that the new system was made in an attempt to organize the parking and accommodate new students. In the same interview, Cranham said that these new regulations are really a numbers issue. The school is growing and it’s getting harder to accommodate everyone.
These new changes were sparked by the SGPA last year over complaints that commuter students were unable to find parking.
“The new policy had good intentions to ensure all of our students have an equitable experience,” Alyssa Poteat, Student Body President, said in a prepared statement. “Like all new regulations, there are going to be things that need to be adjusted as it’s implemented and student feedback is received.”
The truth of the matter is that there aren’t enough spots for the amount of students we have. Currently we have 370 parking spaces to account for the entirety of the student body of more than 700. This has raised some questions about potential solutions. Possibly adopting a policy like NC State where freshmen can’t have cars.
According to both SGPA and Cranham, the system is still malleable. They both are listening to the student body and will attempt to make apt changes as they see fit.