Curbing The Parking Issue

A posted no parking sign just outsode of T.H. Harris Hall. Students. (DIGEST FILE)

A new semester means new students on the Bluff. There is an influx of new Jaguars at Southern University A&M College to procure their future. From freshmen to faculty, everyone desires to get to their destination in a timely manner to further themselves and acquire an education. In order to obtain these goals, campus parking is essential.

Parking on campus has been the subject of debate for decades now; both alumni and current students wonder where they could park, why they’re accumulating tickets, and how they can receive some answers. Za’Laya LeDay, a freshman Business major from Lake Charles, Louisiana, shares some of her frustrations as well. “Parking is okay if you know a good perspective of where you need to go.” She goes on to add, “I definitely do think the school needs to allow more parking in the front of the school as well.”

I met with the director of Traffic and Parking at Southern University, Eric Reid, to discuss the grievances and questions that we all desperately are searching for. Mr. Reid mentions that the entire month of August is the busiest for them since they handle registration for Southern University students as well as the Southern University Lab School.

It was brought to Mr. Reid’s attention to the student body’s thoughts and concerns about Traffic and Parking such as tickets, booting, and insufficient parking. He started by stating that Traffic and Parking gives students about a month's grace period to get familiar with the campus as well as learn different spaces to park. Tickets are only administered if you were to park in a reserved parking space, such as faculty parking. He says, “There’s no hidden agenda…everything we do is rules and regulations that you can find online.”

He goes on to explain where you could find the online campus directory which highlights different buildings to where commuter students could park on campus. You can go onto, click on ‘Campus Map’ at the top of the screen, and press on ‘Parking’ to reveal the relevant parking to you. For students, the safest places to park would be the F.G. Clark Activity Center, the Mumford Stadium, and more. Faculty and staff have a plethora of places to park around campus and can park honestly anywhere.

Students also complain that they don’t have any good parking spaces, or many at all, that’s close to their classes equivalent to the faculty and staff. Therefore, students park in restricted places that forces them to be susceptible to being ticketed, booted, or even towed. This puts students in a hard place as tickets can rack up and place students into debt at the end of the semester.

Terren Blackwell, a junior from Dallas, Texas, feels as if students are in a dilemma, stating, “Don’t penalize students for being in certain parking spots if parking is limited for students.” Mr. Eric Reid assured that there is enough parking for everyone on campus. “ Of the last 4 years I’ve been here, we’ve never had an issue with everything filling up…it’s just not in the area they want to be.”

The Traffic and Parking department are constantly the topic of discussion on and off campus, and Mr. Eric Reid wants the student body to know that they can always come down to the office with their tickets, questions, and concerns. “If you are unsure about where you can park, or what you got a ticket for, come down to the office and come find some answers!”

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