For the first time in 22 years, Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees voted to increase the cost of parking violations on campus.
In June, the board approved new fines effective in July, just before students returned for fall semester. Meter violations went from $15 to $20. The board also got rid of the 24-hour courtesy, which stated that if students paid their ticket within 24 hours of receiving it their fine would drop from $10 to $5 or $15 to $10.
Dana Whyte, spokesperson for the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety, said that the most common violations are reserved parking and metered parking. This would be violation 201, which is issued to vehicles parked in pay-by-plate and single-space meters without payment.
MSU students, especially those living off campus who drive to class, are disappointed with the increase.
“I’ve been living off campus for two years now and my experiences with MSU parking have been nothing but horrible,” said MSU junior Abdulla Alblooshi. ” The permits are too expensive, and for what? Non-guaranteed parking? Also, tough luck if you buy a car to commute after you’ve already moved here because parking permits aren’t available to purchase during the school year.”
“Parking should be free as we pay absurd amounts for tuition. Students should register their license plate with their student ID in order to prevent non-students from taking advantage of MSU parking lots.”
In attempts to avoid parking, Alblooshi started biking to class but someone broke his lock and stole his bike while he was in class.
Parking permits range from $200 to $500 and only give students access to specific lots, which are still a 10 to 20 minute walk to classes. MSU staff and faculty are not free from tickets on campus either. Employee parking passes cost $588 for 12-month access.
MSU brings in considerable revenue from parking violations. According to an East Lansing Info article, in 2018 a MSU student submitted an FOIA request that granted access to a spreadsheet revealing parking violation revenue for that year. In 11 months MSU collected over $1.1 million on parking tickets, and that revenue was with the former ticket prices.
Where is this money going? According to MSU’s Parking Services, all fees collected from paid violations goes back into the campus, funding projects like safety systems in place for students.
“The money from violations is used for safety items around campus including lot signage, lot repairs, ramp repairs, and traffic lights and signage. Violation ticket prices were increased to assist in funding these safety items. While ticket prices now more accurately compete with other jurisdictions, this was not necessarily why they were raised,” Whyte said.
Safety systems such as the greenlight emergency phones may not be the highest priority for students in comparison to being able to afford to park on campus.
“With parking permit rates becoming more and more unreasonable, MSU students are going to be forced to continue to break the rules and park without a permit, but now with the new ticket prices, that doesn’t even feel like an option.,” Alblooshi said.