Parking ticket challenges may save you money

Michelle Herrick

Michelle Herrick

On a crowded college campus, there’s one fate worse than not finding a parking spot: getting a parking ticket.

“I have about $90 in tickets so far,” Brian Dahl, freshmen general studies major, said.

The University Police Department issues 20 to 30 parking-related tickets a day for everything from not having the correct lot permit to crooked parking violations.

Dahl, who lives in Young Hall, said he can never find a spot to park when he returns late at night. So he ends up parking in one of the 20 minute spots and gets fined.

“In one night I got three tickets,” Dahl said.

The average ticket is usually $20, but some are as high as $50.

The only good thing about getting tickets is that if students disagree they can challenge it–for $10 more in court costs. However, that fee along with the ticket is waived if students win the appeal.

“If a student feels that the ticket was issued wrongly, they can come into the UPD office and fill out an appeals form within 72 hours of issuance,” Kelly Anawski, UPD secretary.

An appeals committee that meets once a month reviews the case and decides whether to grant an appeal. A letter is then sent to the student, notifying him or her when to appear for the hearing.

“There are fewer denied than granted per session,” Anawski said of the appeals process. The committee is made up of faculty and students.

At the hearing, both parties are present and the student has to state the reason for challenging the ticket.

“Most students win because they have a legitimate reason for showing up,” said political science major Mike Whitford who sits on the appeals committee and is a senator for the College of Arts and Science.

Whitford strongly recommends taking a picture or bringing in some other proof so that it isn’t just the student’s word against the officer’s.

Mike Sneesby, a 19 year-old freshmen, thinks the process of issuing tickets is a bit arbitrary.

“I can understand if they are hogging three or four spots, but just for parking over the line is stupid,” Sneesby said.

In March of last year, Lynn Stoneburner, a senior advertising major, was pulled over for speeding near the HPER center. Stoneburner thought she was pulled over erroneously, so she challenged the ticket.

Though Stoneburner had some problems dealing with the police department, including not getting her appeal hearing until January, she did finally win her case and her ticket was revoked.

“Too many students get tickets and pay them when the officer could be at fault,” Stoneburner said.

All fees collected from traffic tickets go into the Parking and Traffic Committee Fund for such things as snow removal, signs and other road maintenance. The police department doesn’t directly benefit from the funds.

A new option is now available to students who have concerns about the UPD.

On Monday night, Students’ Association President Eric Erickson formed a UPD Oversight Committee. Erickson will chair the committee made of four other SA members. The committee will meet as necessary to address student concerns, and any findings will be forwarded to the university president, vice president of Administration and the UPD chief of police.