Jul.15.16 - Faculty/Staff Parking Fee Implementation Delayed ’Til Spring Term
The university has often shared the perspective that we cannot communicate too much, and campus conversations about the intended increase in fees for faculty and staff parking in the coming year is a good example of this. This is the case even as people of good faith believed that communication had indeed occurred prior to actual implementation.
The presentation at the March Administrative Council meeting was heard by scores of colleagues. Whether correct or incorrect, the absence of objection was interpreted as acceptance by those advancing fee increases.
The key elements of the reasoning for the faculty and staff parking fee were threefold:
1) Future public safety and parking enforcement needs will likely require an adjustment in the near term of the current levels of student transportation and parking fees. After conversation with the University System staff, it was clear that such a request would not get a hearing if faculty and staff continued to pay little or nothing for parking
2) The present system ultimately asks students to subsidize our parking - a very challenging position to defend to external audiences, and hardly one that the institution could long support.
3) Changes in a whole array of Regents policies concerning food charges, and bookstore revenue threats from board-driven increases in on-line materials, have continued strains on present and future auxiliary revenues. This is a key measure of an institution’s perceived financial soundness, and distinct from state and tuition dollars.
A gap in communication was clear once comments arose following the announcement from Public Safety on June 28th. The objections were passionate and heartfelt. Unfortunately, they do not change the condition for which the fee increase was advanced.
Communication with representative faculty and staff colleagues made important points in the interest of ratifying campus commitment to communication. As representatives of the faculty senate wrote:
“In regards to the parking fee, itself, while some faculty simply oppose the fee, many faculty understand the need for the fee as a revenue producer in the current fiscal climate. Others question the need for the fee but understand that a decision has been made and that the university needs to prepare for its implementation. Indeed, it is through the implementation process that we see an opportunity to showcase the university’s commitment to trust, open communication, and collaboration as a community and not just a workplace. It is with this in mind that we ask for a one-semester delay in the parking fee for faculty and staff.”
With this thoughtful advice, the implementation of the parking fee will be delayed until the Spring term.
Thank you to all of our colleagues for the open dialog over the last few weeks. It is always important to receive feedback regarding matters that affect members of our community. This type of ongoing conversation is essential to ensure we are always fostering an environment of understanding for our campus.