On Jan. 25, Bass Village housing residents received numerous parking tickets for parking in the designated commuter lots in front of the main campus buildings. Two days later, Jeanne McDade, executive assistant to the vice president of student affairs, sent an email stating the residents could now only park in the gravel lot next to the Winthrop-King Centre.
The recent ticketing campaign leaves concerns for students who feel it is still a long walk to the main buildings, especially when they need to use the library or computer labs. Bass residents are making the argument that on afternoons when school has ended, there are numerous available spots in commuter lots.
In response, sophomore music major Becky Fowler created an online petition in hopes of solving the parking problem. Fowler is not a resident in Bass, but she has many friends that reside there and she has heard their complaints.
“I have never done anything like this and I have always been a rule follower, but this particular problem needed to be addressed and needed someone to address it,” Fowler said.
The petition was created near the end of January, and many Shorter alumni, current students and students from other schools have signed their names. The petition is currently at 89 signatures, 11 shy of the 100 required to reach administration.
On the petition’s website, change.org, students are allowed to offer reasons for signing the petition. Several current and former Bass residents chimed in with their perspective.
“It is dangerous for Bass residents to walk from the apartment dorms to the school, given the fact that there is no sidewalk, (there are) hazardous weather conditions, and (there is) the physical strain that carrying an up to 30 lb. backpack/school supplies can create,” student Anna Wilfong said.
An anonymous student, who signed the petition as A.H., decided to move from Bass to another dorm next year because of the parking difficulties.
“I used to live in Bass, but it was such an inconvenient dorm based on transportation. Please help make Shorter transportation better for the sake of your students,” A.H. said.
Campus safety has already received several complaints from Bass residents, but as of right now they are not changing the designated parking spots for students.
Campus Safety Director Paula Penson is aware of the petition, which is why the email was sent that Bass residents could park in the gravel lot. People parking in the gravel lot this semester, however, is a trial run. Campus safety is monitoring parking in the area.
“At the beginning of the school year, cars must park in the color-coded lots,” Penson said.
Fowler, who is concerned that she will most likely live in Bass as an upperclassman, a does not want to undergo the same issues students are having now.
Though campus safety’s email states the residents can now park in the gravel lot, Fowler pointed out that if there are events at Shorter and the gravel lot is full, Bass residents would then have nowhere to park.
The shuttles have been used to combat the parking issue. The shuttles run from 6 a.m. to the late afternoon, and one shuttle runs until 9:30 p.m.
Fowler also said the shuttles do not run early enough or late enough to help these students. Athletes must be at practice early in the morning while theatre students don’t leave rehearsal until late at night. She believes the shuttles could run more often, aiding those students.
Penson also shared that campus safety cannot give Bass residents the commuter lots since the adult night program needs them. The night classes recently moved from the business school to the hill, and they use the lots in the evenings.
The commuter lots also need to stay open for events. If Bass residents occupy the commuter space, then families and friends will have no place to park.
With these concerns, Penson said she cannot favor one petition over the other. As of right now, if anyone parks in a spot that is not designated to them they will receive a ticket. Parking tickets can cost anywhere from $25 to $75.
Penson urges anyone who has suggestions or concerns to come speak with her.