Nobody likes having to move their vehicles every time there is an event. Administrators do not seem to care.
Since the beginning of the school year, one of the main complaints that boil the blood of all those who have residential parking is that when a big event comes to TU, students are forced to park elsewhere. Students must move their vehicles out of the parking lot that they paid for to allow visitors to take up their parking spots for hours on end. The prices for these parking permits range from about $131 to $201 depending on what kind of permit you get. This does not include designated commuter lots at Harvard and the Reynold’s Center, which cost around $41.
On Sept. 16, the TU community saw people with parking permits being forced out of their residential parking to make way for visitors for a massive football game against OU. People were made to move their cars three days before the event. This took place from Sept. 13 to Sept. 16, and those who live and park in Lorton Village had to either park in the commuter lot or at the Tulsa Fairgrounds and take a free shuttle back to campus.
The latest parking debacle happened only a few days ago. On Sept. 28, TU played against Temple. Once again, residents were made to move their cars and once again, there were complaints. People who paid to park in Lorton Village, Reynolds and Harvard had to move their cars before 3 p.m. In various emails sent before the event, residents who parked in Lorton Village had to have their vehicles moved by 8 a.m.
We all know that TU students are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to parking decisions. There is no protection for those who have paid for parking, especially those who are residential students and park close to where they live.
We did not see people having to move when we hosted a high school match on Aug. 24. There was an increase in traffic, so TU offices closed down earlier than usual. However, the solution to parking for that day was infinitely better than what we see when it is a college event. In an email from Aug. 23, “All TU parking permit holders can keep their cars in their assigned lots. If a lot is full after 5 p.m., please park in the nearest open lot.” The email later goes on to say, “The TU Law-Keplinger parking lot will be limited to TU permit holders so students and faculty can find available space more easily.”
TU has the ability to dictate parking so that it is still beholden to those who have paid for it for the semester, and only when parking fills up do students or faculty have to worry about finding somewhere to park. In some ways, this could devolve into a free-for-all when it comes to parking, but it also forces visitors to find parking that is outside of designated housing areas. However, TU would then be unable to sell parking passes to those who come to see the game.
In President Carson’s infamous email at the beginning of the school year, he made it clear that all of the vast improvements to the campus, many of which we have yet to see, are not free. While the sell-by date for ridiculing this email has long since passed, it is an important snapshot into the reasoning behind these kinds of decisions.
It is clear that there are different ways the parking situation can be handled. It is not necessary to force out those who have paid to park in certain areas. TU is trying to have it both ways to make money off of events. On one hand, the university has already received the money from those who paid for their permits. For any other situation, they seem to uphold their obligation to allow students to park in areas they agreed on. However, it makes the college more money to close off parking for events so that visitors will be able to interact more on campus without souring the mood and not coming to big games. They would also not be able to sell parking passes to visitors. As long as the university makes more money than they lose by upsetting students every month or so, this will continue to happen.