The Sentinel

When guests come to campus, why aren’t students given access to the parking they pay for?

Kori Hines, Columnist

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I, like other Rockhurst students, made my way to campus this past Monday to find the number of available parking spots even more restricted than usual.

When I entered campus from 54th St. and Troost Ave., I made my way down the hill toward the De Acosta parking lot. One of the two lots located on the south side of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall, it’s considered by many, students and faculty alike, to be priority parking locations.

As I rounded the corner, I observed a Rockhurst security officer arranging wailing-orange traffic cones, blockading entry to the De Acosta parking lot. Upon seeing this, I grumbled in frustration, “Why?” In doing so, I forgot that on this uncommonly warm winter morning, my window was rolled down. The officer, only about two feet outside my open window, glanced up at me.

I looked down at the clock as it read 7:55 a.m. I knew the door would soon close on my 8 a.m. class, rendering me tardy.

Begrudgingly, I followed a trail of cars in search of alternative parking locations.

After a circle around the block, I parked on 54th St. near the baseball field, between Virginia Ave. and Lydia Ave., facing west. A much further distance from my classroom. I was 5 minutes late.

This is an experience had by many students and faculty on a regular basis. Even more so on days on which our university hosts guests who are offered preferential parking. On Monday, that was the case–Rockhurst’s first Admitted Students Day. A day which provided students accepted to the university for the fall semester the opportunity to explore campus.

As I trudged down the hill from 54th St. and Tracy Ave., heading toward Arrupe Hall, the officer who overheard my frustration minutes earlier said, matter-of-factly, “It’s Admitted Students Day.” Here’s the thing: I am also an admitted student. Looking at him, I pointed to my Rockhurst-blue polo and jacket embroidered with the words “Student Ambassador. “I know,” I responded cheekily.

To the sight of orange traffic cones, my reaction, “Why?” was not a query that required an actual response. It was an outward expression of an internal frustration, one relating to the interior state of my wallet.

Per Rockhurst University Parking Regulations, students who park on campus are to pay $125 per semester. Faculty and staff receive a parking permit at a cost of $250 per year.

To have the convenience of parking on-campus, a large number of us Rockhurst affiliates pay this fee. However on most days throughout the year, we find ourselves laboring for a single, coveted parking spot. And on days like Admitted Students Day or Competitive Scholars Day, we are expected to relinquish the parking locations for which we pay, making the process of getting to class all the more difficult.

To some, the solution to this “problem” is simple: Rockhurst’s North Parking Garage. Located near Troost Ave. and Rockhurst Rd., the parking garage is where we, students, are directed to park when the lots are full and street parking is limited.

But, instead of designating the parking lots for visitors and forcing current Rockhurst attendees to relocate, we should direct prospective students to use the parking garage. It is located nearer to the Admissions Office in Massman Hall, to where prospective students are often instructed to go, than the Bellarmine and De Acosta lots outside of Arrupe Hall.

On student visitor days, instead of posting a Rockhurst officer near the traffic cones outside of Arrupe Hall, he or she could greet visiting students in the parking garage. On Admitted Students Day, there were Student Ambassadors positioned around campus, directing visitors to their destinations and the case could be the same with this change

As a student who lived on campus for two years, I recognize the struggle involved in finding a parking spot located near my residence hall, my home.

Now, as a commuter with a half-hour travel time, I know the frustration of paying $250 per year to have access to priority parking, yet, on most days, not being able to use it because the lots are already very full. Then, having the process made all the more difficult on several occasions throughout the semester.

While we prioritize the needs of potential students, lest we not forget the Hawks who already call the Rockhurst nest “home.”

Interested in joining the Sentinel staff? Reach out to our Editor-in-Chief, Ryan Crawford, at [email protected] to see how you can get involved.

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When guests come to campus, why aren’t students given access to the parking they pay for?