As a first year, I was using my dad’s car on campus for the weekend and parked it in a lot behind Anderson Hall. I thought to myself – this lot hardly ever has cars in it, what’s the worst that can happen? The next day, I noticed a parking ticket on my windshield. I kicked myself for being careless, admitted I was wrong and agreed it was right to pay the fine. What I did not think was right was the price of the fine.
As per the student handbook (6.4.C), Miami University charges a $75 fine for parking in a restricted area. I believe that this fine is outlandishly high for no practical reason. To put it into perspective, according to their website, The Ohio State University fines students $39.25 for “parking disregarding signs.” Miami University parking services charges substantially more for the same offence. If a student were to “park in a prohibited area marked by signs” at the University of Akron, they would be charged $25 for the first offense, $30 for the second and $35 for the third offense and beyond.
This means that if I were to commit the same offense as I did behind Anderson Hall on Akron’s campus, I could do it twice and still pay less than Miami’s whopping $75 fine. The price of a fine at these other universities is reasonable, especially considering they are located in urban areas. Was I surprised when I discovered I owed an entire $75 for parking my car in a half empty lot for the night? Yes. But, parking services does allow students to submit a request for an appeal. In my case, it was one strike and you’re out. By this, frankly, I was not surprised.
Having parking fines and enforcing them is important to maintain the efficiency and convenience of parking lots and streets on campus. The main reason for setting a fine for parking illegally is deterrence. Some students pay extra for the privilege of having a guaranteed space with their pass. It is fair to ticket students without a pass for parking in those areas. Likewise, if a student knows they will have to pay a fee, they will likely find a place to park further away and walk from there.
However, $25-$40 is more than enough to deter most college students who are living on a budget. When the fee is set at $75 it becomes about making a profit, not serving your students.