OPINION: Why ticketing, security needs transparency

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As Florida Tech grows, and as space on the Melbourne campus becomes more restricted, students with cars will experience alterations to their daily routine.

Depending on a student’s schedule, housing situation, and even vehicle choice, their parking rights and privileges change.

Commuters will need to arrive much earlier than their class starts to secure a space, people who live on campus will have to park in their residence hall parking lot and walk, and people with motorcycles will be forced to park in the few “Motorcycle Only” parking spaces.

In this pursuit of order, Florida Tech released an intricate, 21-section web page that outlines the Parking and Traffic Regulations.

In the statement of purpose can be found the clause, ”The President of Florida Institute of Technology has delegated absolute authority to ensure enforcement of all rules and regulations to the Director of Security.”

As I began reading this web page to better understand the 21 sections of Parking and Traffic Regulations that takes all of 6,553 words, I was very upset, but not at all surprised that all the power to enforce rules and regulations was bestowed upon a single individual.

The distribution of power in such an integral part of student life is devoid of one key factor: student input.

Students have seemingly no say in the decision to implement rules, decide appropriate fines, or propose new areas for parking.

I’m sure every driving student has experienced the dreaded feeling of looking for a parking spot on campus when every spot is blocked with a small orange or green cone. Guess what, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

If, for some reason, you can’t spare 45 minutes of your busy schedule to read all rules and regulations regarding traffic and parking, and receive a ticket, you have plenty of options.

You can either:

  1. Pay the ticket.
  2. Appeal the ticket within three business days.

If you choose option one, you will be forking over a minimum of $50. (Sometimes more, depending on how many offenses you committed). If you choose two, you are putting your faith in the due process of law… Just kidding.

Your only option in appealing the ticket is to staple a copy of the ticket to a piece of paper, write your information, and try to explain in one paragraph written, why the department of security should not take your money.

The appeal is sent to an appeals board comprised of students, faculty, and university staff, and if your appeal fails, an extra $10 will be tacked on to the ticket price. What’s really ridiculous about this is that there is absolutely no way for you to talk to an individual, unbiased person.

How un-American is that? Our founding fathers talked about “No taxation without representation.” An entire political party is founded on this concept. It’s surprising then that people in a position of power are still able to get away with having it.

What’s even more outrageous is the fact that the parking ticket system is tied directly to students’ academics. If a student does not pay for a parking ticket before class registration or graduation, they won’t be allowed to proceed with either until the parking ticket is paid.

This leaves some students with absolutely no option but to pay, effectively leveraging money from the students.

The only way to put an end to this potentially corrupt system is to have absolute transparency. A system needs to be put in place to check the security officers and make sure that the offenses they hand out tickets for are warranted, as well as to check the appeals process to make sure that appeals are dealt with fairly.

Without these, it’s very easy for students to feel like they are being strong-armed by the director of Security over parking. Because let’s face it; ticketing $50 is a lot of money for a college student.