Campus Parking

Just when I was starting to worry that my writing well was running low, Fate stepped in and handed my the perfect subject matter - Campus parking. Being an OU alum, I have experienced the trials and tribulations of finding parking on campus before. Let me say that while Athens was obsessively strict in their parking enforcement, at least they clearly defined which lots were meant for whom and under what conditions there were exceptions.

Ashland U, on the other hand, is a murky cesspool of parking violation exploitation. AU parking passes are significantly cheaper than OU passes - $30 per year at AU vs. $120 per quarter at OU (back in my day). Unfortunately, you are dependent upon a diagram that is too small and not clearly defined, as well as signs with 18 pt font that you are supposed to be able to read and comprehend from a moving vehicle. In fact, some of the signs do not even face vehicle entry ways to the lot. While the updated AU online campus map (which I just viewed for the first time while writing this post), does in fact distinguish between the lots, the map handed out with the passes does not. It's up to the employee working at the time to clearly make these distinctions. Being lazy, I only used the one I was handed (and did not cross-reference it with the one from the previous year, which clearly defined the separation, until later) and was rewarded with a $25 parking ticket this morning.

I confronted the Safety Services officer accompanying the parking attendant and demanded clarification. I was informed that I could file an appeal and I immediately set forth to do so, after he almost destroyed my evidence of misinformation (by adding a line to delimit the lots - don't worry I noted this and attached the diagram with his revision labeled as part of my appeal). I was granted access to knowledgeable individuals who were surprisingly helpful and understanding of my upset at these circumstances. I also had the honor to be the first AU student to file my appeal online. Apparently, Student Affairs wanted to test the new system to make the 72 hour appeal turn around time more fair to students. They were very excited that I was willing to be their guinea pig, so hopefully that and my detailed novella of the circumstances will help me get my appeal approved.

I try to play by the rules after being conditioned by OU parking to do so. Being misinformed or lacking the appropriate information to determine what the rules are understandably aggravates me, as does a ticket almost equal in cost to the pass I purchased. I was previously warned not to park in visitors' lots (only because I had a pass in my window, those who cheat by not buying one get a free pass all the time), so my paranoia at parking in a lot labeled "visitors and authorized vehicles" (notice there is no mention of commuters) landed me in an adjacent faculty/staff parking lot where the sign is only clearly visible to pedestrians. Anyway, I have filed my appeal and made a request in it that they update the parking map so these kinds of mistakes are impossible in the future. It may be a few weeks before I receive a decision, but I will update this post to reflect the outcome of my appeal.

As a warning to anyone trying to follow parking rules, I suggest you demand clarification even if they have to hand draw you a new map.


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents