Parking Fines Have Students Fuming

BY ANDREW PENACHO // DEC. 18, 2014 //

Students are rarely pleased with the parking situation at Curry College. Specifically, they routinely complain about a perceived lack of parking spots, as well as rules that restrict where on campus they can park.

However, it’s the high cost of parking tickets that has students most fuming.

“The parking tickets at Curry are too high,” said Patrick England, a sophomore management major. “I paid a lot to park my car here. There is no reason why I can’t park where I want.”

PHOTO BY AARON VAN DORN // CREATIVE COMMONS
PHOTO BY AARON VAN DORN // CREATIVE COMMONS

A parking pass at Curry costs traditional undergrads $250 per academic year. Traditional day commuters pay $125, while evening commuters pay only $50. Each student pass has certain location restrictions, which are typically based on where the student lives on campus. Failure to park in the correct lot can lead to parking tickets that range from a low of $50 to as much as $200. If necessary, vehicles may also be towed at the owner’s expense.

Curry’s Public Safety department doles out the tickets.

Brian Greeley, chief of Public Safety, said there are approximately 1,500 parking spots on campus. About the same number of people have parking passes, and first-year traditional residential students are not even allowed to keep a car on campus.

Bottom line: “There is no room for premier parking,” said Greeley, who noted “at least 6 to 8 people come to the Public Safety building a day to complain about a ticket they just received.”

As for the cost of tickets, Greeley said the basic $50 parking fine mirrors the penalty in area towns. But that’s not entirely true.

According to the Boston Police Department, the penalty for parking in permit-required areas of Hyde Park, Mattapan and Dorchester is $25. And Kathleen O’ Donnell, senior administrative parking clerk for the town of Milton, gasped when hearing fine amounts at Curry. The penalty for illegally parking in a residential area of Milton—which is akin to improperly parking in a restricted lot at Curry—is only $15.

Greeley declined to say how much money Curry has generated through ticketing students this semester, or previous semesters, as well as the number of tickets handed out by Public Safety. He did say the money generated through tickets go to the college’s “general fund,” meaning it’s not earmarked for a specific purpose.

Curry does have a ticket appeal process, and first-time offenses are routinely voided. You have seven business days to appeal a ticket, by going on Curry College’s website and filling out an online form.

If a student does not appeal the ticket within seven business days, the fine will be charged to his school account.

Dorm Damage Fees Rile Students

BY TAYLOR EVANS // APRIL 2, 2014 //

When something is damaged in a residence hall, someone has to pay for it. At Curry College, it’s usually a lot of people.

Depending on the extent of the damage, a whole floor of students or an entire residence hall can be billed—and often are—to repair or replace things.

When the person responsible for the damage isn’t identified, the college will divide the costs among all students who live within the specified area, according to Stephanie Alliette, assistant director of housing operations at Curry. Many other colleges maintain a similar policy.

However, it still creates obvious tension among students, who are routinely frustrated that they must pay for the damage or theft done by others. Briana Oman, a sophomore psychology major, is among the many Curry students who receive regular emails from the college informing her that she has been fined for dorm damage.

“It gets annoying paying for people’s mistakes when I have nothing to do with it,” she said. “Most of the times I get fined are after a weekend, when a lot of people do stupid things when they’re drinking or going out. It gets frustrating, especially because often I’m not even in the building when this stuff goes on.”

The current system aims to compel students to hold their peers accountable, and to encourage the sharing of information about wrongdoing with resident assistants.

“Residents are highly encouraged to come forward and share any information they know, with the goal of minimizing community cost and identifying those at fault,” said Alliette. “This is why we continue to promote civility in the residence halls and encourage peers to hold each other accountable.”

All students who live on campus already pay a $400 damage deposit. However, the college expects all residence hall fines to be paid upon notice. At the conclusion of the spring semester, a final damage assessment is performed in each student’s room and the residence hall in general. Any fines levied from that assessment, as well as any previously unpaid residence hall-related fines, are deducted from the deposit. The remainder is then returned to the student within 30 days.