CASEY LANE, Special to The Denisonian—Previously reported by The Denisonian in April 2019, over 200 parking spaces have been displaced to create construction zones for the new buildings, the social spaces that reside on the former senior Brownstone apartments’ parking lot and the senior apartment building Silverstein that is currently being constructed on the senior Sunnies’ senior apartments.
Evan Brooks ’20 is from Chicago studying psychology has never brought a car on campus. “It started to become a problem when the Swasey parking lot became restricted for students living on east quad,” says Brooks. He heard from many of his friends with cars as well as noticed himself the increase in ticketing students for parking in restricted areas.
The tension between students and Campus Safety was high. As previously reported by Mara Kilgore in the Denisonian edition in April 2019, “Chief O’Neill confirmed that he has received quite a few, as he phrases, ‘the sky is falling’ type emails regarding the loss of parking spaces. He estimates that he has received somewhere between 125 and 150 emails from students with constructive criticism, complaints and support. O’Neill says that making changes to parking is difficult because our hill doesn’t allow for much mobility. He stresses that he understands the difficulty of seniors being displaced.”
Brooks noticed that there were plenty of empty spaces and lots around campus, yet they were and still are restricted for students to park. These spots included the parking lots near the senior apartments and the Slayter parking garage. “No one should have to park more than a ten-minute walk away from where they live. We are paying to have these cars on campus,” Brooks says, noting that the unrestricted areas that were not already full were a great distance away from their dorm or apartment. When a friend of Brooks’ confronted Campus Safety about the growing issue, it was stated that there was not much that could be done on the office’s part, that contact and planning with the Provost would be in order. Campus Safety was and is simply enforcing the rules they have been given.
“We can’t bite the hand we are taking food from,” Brooks remarks, placing no direct blame on Campus Safety, but he acknowledges that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with for the convenience of students and students in the future. This is how the petition was born. When asked what he thinks the most efficient solution for parking on campus, Brooks admitted that he “doesn’t have a holistic solution” for parking, but has many ideas on what would be a good start. “Allowing the sunnies parking lots to be open for seniors, and letting students park in P2 and P3 [the lower levels of Slayter Union’s parking garage] overnight”. When asked if Campus Safety is aware of the petition for parking, Brooks did not believe that they knew.
He emphasizes the importance of the community in solving this issue. “ It’s all about getting the conversation started”, Brooks quotes, “and what it means to really support something.” He believes coming together as a student body is a key to solving the parking crisis as well as future problems on campus. “It’s up to us to make a difference for those (students) before and after us. Take the chance to make your voice heard when you are able to.”