Seek more options for funds


Editorial Board

The Issue:

Beginning in Fall 2008, all faculty and student commuter lots and passes will be combined and increase in cost.

Our View:

The Collegian believes there have to be ways of obtaining funds for the transition to a walking campus without severely increasing student costs.

This summer, lots of construction will begin on campus – and several faculty parking lots will close because of it. The university intends to use this as the initial step to make SDSU a walking campus. Due to this, faculty and students will no longer have separate lots; they will be combined into “commuter” lots.

As can be expected, there is some dissension within the SDSU community about the Parking and Traffic Committee’s decision, which is awaiting approval from university administration. The Academic Senate discussed writing a letter to the committee at the March 11 meeting, asking for more faculty input when making future parking decisions. However, there are three faculty members who sit on the Parking and Traffic Committee, and according to Andy Walker, a student representative on the committee, none of them show up for meetings. The faculty should have had input on this decision, but because their representatives did not show up, they missed out.

Faculty members do have a legitimate complaint, though. They already have a problem with students parking illegally in the NFA parking lot; if they have to compete with students next fall, teachers will likely have problems parking near their next class. Students may face problems with parking as well. Student lots are already reminiscent of demolition derbies. Will it be more cut throat next year?

The cost for parking passes will increase for both faculty and students as well. A 12-month parking pass will cost $96. For students, most of whom will purchase a 10-month pass, the cost for a pass will be increased by approximately 60 percent. As Dan Friedrichs, a former Students’ Association senator and student representative, said at the March 3 SA meeting, “We have to pay for parking lots somehow.”

While a walking campus is a healthy idea for students, staff and the environment, the cost should not be dumped onto students. They should not have to pay more for less spots. Perhaps each lot should have its own tag and individual price, depending on location.

There are fund raising options other than adding on to students’ bills. One option is to charge visitors who park on campus for athletic events. Currently, student lots are blocked off for these guests, who park on campus at no charge, unless they park in the lot the Pride uses during football season. The university could also consider factoring in the cost of a new lot for each new building. Even if the lots aren’t close to the building, the people who work in that building have to park somewhere. Since a walking campus would be lowering the campus’s carbon emissions, SDSU may qualify for federal money that would be available if the U.S. Senate passes H.R. 4137, which has been passed in the House. It may also be worth researching the possibilities of qualifying for a community development grant.

The walking campus is a great step towards a progressive, sustainable future, but let’s find a way to make the evolution less painful.