Pretty soon a handful of lucky Miami University students may be traveling around campus in style.
A recent proposal from Student Body President Jonathan McNabb would allow a small number of student leaders to purchase red faculty/staff parking permits.
“(Parking) is a real frustration for me,” McNabb said. “I’ve gotten many parking tickets that surround my activities as student body president. Parking tickets have taken up too much of my money.”
McNabb said he’s even gotten two tickets in one day because of having to drive from meeting to meeting.
“I knew I was parking illegally, but I needed to meet my job responsibilities,” McNabb said.
McNabb said he took a proposal to David Creamer, vice president for finance and business services, detailing why he thought red permits were necessary for student leaders.
Creamer said when students bring forth a proposal to him, he’ll try to find a way to make it possible as long as it makes sense and is important.
“This is a real problem and we need to be supportive of students (in these leadership roles),” Creamer said.
Creamer said McNabb’s original proposal was for six permits, but Creamer increased it to 10.
McNabb said he was surprised when the proposal was accepted but thinks it’s a wise decision.
The breakdown of permits is four for leaders of student government, three for Greek affairs, two for The Miami Student and one for Program Board and Miami Afterdark.
Barbara Jones, vice president for student affairs, said it’s not uncommon at colleges and universities for student leaders to get higher-status parking permits.
McNabb said he’s talked to student leaders at Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, Wright State University, Kent State University, University of Toledo and Akron University that all have similar policies in place.
“At Bowling Green (State University) they actually get a car,” McNabb said.
Jones said when she worked at Ball State University, the president and vice president of student government got the highest permit available at no cost.
Jones’ role in this permit process is to sign off on the final list of names, once it’s been secured.
“On other campuses, usually just student government gets passes but here they are spreading it out,” Jones said. “Compared to other campuses our number (of 10 permits) is quite generous. That’s pretty amazing.”
McNabb said the red passes will be distributed annually at a cost of $100 per semester – the same price as a blue permit
According to the parking and transportation services Web site, red permits normally cost $20 for faculty and staff.
Junior Ian McGuinness said the students should be given some slack on the price.
“They shouldn’t have to pay full price, but they should have to pay some, maybe half-price,” McGuinness said.
Perry Gordon, director of parking and transportation services, said he’s been instructed to issue the red permits once he receives the final list of names.
“My understanding of the justification is these students devote a considerable amount of time to things that benefit the student body as a whole,” Gordon said.
Pete Martin, professor emeritus of English, said as long as the students don’t take advantage of this privilege he doesn’t see any reason to oppose it.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving student leadership that kind of support and incentive to carry out their duties,” Martin said.
Kimberly Kaczorowski, visiting faculty of English, agreed the red permits to student leaders call for extra responsibility and efficiency.
“It’s a huge reward,” Kaczorowski said. “It’s nicknamed the ‘God Pass’ by English graduate students because it’s a treat.”
Kaczorowski said graduate students would benefit from red permits because it’s challenging to get all the necessary materials together for teaching classes.
“We don’t have the ability to do that efficiently,” Kaczorowski said. “There is more to the university than just student life that graduate students fulfill.”
But Kaczorowski said it’s not a bad thing that student government or upper-level undergraduates receive red permits, as long as they aren’t used haphazardly.
Senior Joe Wingenfeld agreed it seems reasonable to give student leaders red permits, but he said he could see it being abused.
“It would have to be case-by-case, but as long as they’re responsible,” Wingenfeld said. “Miami always has more perks than others.”
McNabb said if the permits are misused they could be taken away.
“This is a great privilege for student leaders who do so much on campus during the day,” McNabb said. “This is meant to be a trial run. I’ve slowly been contacting people who have been chosen and letting them know it is for business use only.”
Jones said this is still in the experimental stage.
Creamer agreed and added, “We’ll probably have to make adjustments.”
McNabb said the student government leaders who receive a red permit will have to pay for it out of their own pocket, as ASG will not be providing them free of charge.