The battle over parking tickets

By Jake Sambito

Student will have to pay hefty fine as he continues to park in no park zones due to limited on-campus parking (Photo by Nicole Rollo)

Look in any parking lot across the campus and you’ll find them. They’re small, light and thin but they really pack a punch – parking tickets. At $50 apiece one would think the University makes a fortune, but surprisingly, the facts say otherwise.
Mary Beth McKenzie, executive director of administrative services, explains that in fiscal year 2011 the university made $79,000 in parking tickets and in fiscal year 2012 the University raked in about $69,000.
In fiscal year 2012, University officers who enforce the parking policies politely handed out 1,380 parking tickets. 
McKenzie explains that although the college received $69,000 in parking fees in 2012, that number is a minuscule amount compared to the overall budget of $48 million.
“The funds do not go to pay any salaries or expenses,” says McKenzie. The money goes into a general fund that helps pay for the university’s institutional scholarships, she says. Although, McKenzie admits that she does not know the specifics of this fund and how it “actually works.”
McKenzie says the majority of tickets are given out not because of the lack of parking available to faculty, staff and students but because of the lack of what many consider “convenient parking.”
In actuality the University has more spaces than parking passes, she says; however, the Rec Center and Civic Center make up many of these spaces. “The fact is the University is in a city and space is limited.”
McKenzie goes on to say, “a lack of convenient parking is not unique to Fitchburg State”; go to any college in Boston or Worcester and you will find much worse parking situations.
The truth, she says, is because the University is in a small city faculty and students alike expect convenient parking. People don’t always plan adequate time to park in the farther lots and as a result park in a restricted area and receive a ticket.