Establishment of a Simple & Clear Parking Policy at Winthrop University
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Our goal is to solve these top parking and policy problems on-campus that negatively impact the economy, safety, and security of each Winthrop University student, guest/visitor, staff, and faculty member.
Problem 1. Incorrect and/or Erroneous Signage - For example, the Johnson Lot entrance sign states "F/S 7am - 5pm", or Faculty and Staff 7am - 5pm. This is interpreted to mean "only faculty and staff can park in this lot from 7am to 5pm. After that, anyone can park here without a decal, be they student, faculty, staff, guest, etc..." According to the Campus Police Department office, no one is allowed to park in the Johnson Lot unless the car displays a decal purchased from the university or a guest/visitor parking pass is issued by the Campus Police office. Students, faculty, staff, guests, and the general public have parked in the Johnson Lot with or without decals and received citations of varying amounts due to the incorrect and/or erroneous signage. SOLUTION: Correct signage displaying the correct parking policy. This will decrease unneccessary tickets due to the correct interpretation of incorrect signage. An example of possible correct signage: "F/S 24/7, Student 5pm-7am. Decal Must be Visible 24/7."
Problem 2. Exorbitant or Unreasonable Fees - The current fee for parking in the Johnson Lot with a purchased decal that is not displayed is $40 per citation. The current fee for parking in this lot without a purchased decal is $110 per citation. If one were to correctly interpret the aforementioned incorrect signage and park in this lot without a purchased decal, the fee is unreasonable, exorbitant, or personally economically devastating. To a visiting parent that is able to nonchalantly pay cash for their child's education, perhaps the fee is only unreasonable. To the senior university student that is finishing the acquirement of a university degree with $75,000 in student debt (the bulk of which goes to the university for tuition, fees, books, and other educational costs), the fee is exorbitant and personally economically devastating to the student surviving on today's university student budget. It will likely mean the loss of a number of meals, resulting in hunger which negatively impacts the overall health of the individual in addition to diminished academic performance. SOLUTION: Fees from citations need to be reduced substantially by at least 75%. This will reduce the devastation to the student's, faculty member's, staff member's, and individual guest's budget and overall economic safety and security.
Problem 3. Personal Safety and Security - In addition to the aforementioned negative impact to economic safety and security, the current parking policy and erroneous signage compromises the personal safety and security of each Winthrop Community member. The student, guest, staff, or faculty member that lacks the money to pay for a decal must park "off-campus". For example, if a student parks off-campus because of rehearsals from 6 - 10pm, then this student may need to walk through unsafe territory alone, late at night, after work has concluded. With recent events such as the sexual assault off-campus" in 2019, student safety needs to be prioritized along with student success. If a student, faculty member, or staff member wants to attend Winthrop University at 5:01pm to put in the extra time on a paper, a project, to see an event, or to achieve academic success, this is to be supported and protected rather than punished. SOLUTION: All student activities such as rehearsals need to be designated as "events" with specific "event hours". This will enable everyone involved in a rehearsal from 6-10pm to park on-campus, increasing freedom from potential threats and situations that may harm individual economic or personal safety and security. This will also positively effect peace of mind in those faculty or staff members that care for their students' safety outside of typical student activity hours when assignments and/or activities on-campus demand such commitments. In the long term, all cars in Johnson Lot (and other popularly trafficked parking lots) receive free parking after 6pm. This will also ensure that arbitrary fines can be reduced in both price and quantity issued.
Problem 4. Overall Negative Impact to Winthrop University - As the erroneous signage continues to result in students, faculty, staff, and guests to incorrectly park in the Johnson Lot unwittingly, the reputation of Winthrop University is tarnished. Due to parking policy communicated through erroneous signage, alumni are leaving Winthrop University with a negative experience that may last their entire lives. This will negatively impact their recommendation of Winthrop to future potential students but also potential donations from Winthrop alumni. Long-term and short-term visitors and guests are leaving Winthrop University with a negative experience that will impact their decision to ever return, give a donation, or support the university in a myriad of ways. These are a limited number of negative perceptions that guests, alumni, and faculty/staff may be experiencing before these negative perceptions evolve into a toxic reality of antagonism or impediment of Winthrop University and its future goals. SOLUTION: Clear signage and clear policy with clear communication. This solution fosters a true community atmosphere that the university, the student, the guest, the faculty member, and the staff member can all share in together. Honesty begets honesty, in deeds and in relationships. This will enable such possible future investments as donations or gifts of time volunteered to Winthrop, talent volunteered to Winthrop, or treasure volunteered to Winthrop.
Winthrop University's "Campus Police Traffic and Parking: Parking Areas" website also matches the erroneous signage and unclear policy. It states "Parking on campus in F/S spaces is prohibited until evening hours as posted on signage." This again leads to the correct interpretation of incorrectly articulated policy and posted erroneous signage. The interpretation that parking is allowed when evening hours begin is incorrect despite the website not articulating the specific policy nor the signage posting the specific policy. This can be clarified. This clarification enables the success, safety, and security of each individual at Winthrop by means of open communication rather than inhibiting success through erroneous policy information and signage.
We believe in our University. We believe in the Interim Chief of Police's Campus Police Message from the Chief that states "The Winthrop University Campus Police Department is a progressive organization committed to providing a safe and secure campus environment for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors." We believe in our University's values as articulated in our university's Mission Statement: "The values of service, excellence, diversity, community, and leadership provide the foundation for Winthrop's continuing development and shape Winthrop's continuing success." Because we share and support these values, our diverse voices have come together in this online community of signatures to lead and serve our university on its mission to achieve excellence.
We believe that these possible solutions would enable the University community to hold true to these values in deed as well as in word.
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