Parking gate malfunctions lead to ticketing by Campus Police

The inbound security gates for several parking lots, including the upper level of Lot 12, adjacent to Forcina Hall, have been out of order for over three weeks. Though the gates are raised, tickets will continue to be distributed to unauthorized vehicles parked in the lots.

“Just because the gates are up doesn’t mean we won’t ticket,” Lieutenant Don Rizzo of Campus Police said. It is campus policy that drivers may only park in those lots to which they are assigned permits.

The gate has been raised due to a broken part. When Campus Police noticed the gate was not working properly, Access Control was contacted. After the problem was diagnosed, the gate was raised three weeks ago, and will remain so until the part can be replaced.

An outside contractor has been contacted for the new part. Chris Chamberlain, assistant director of Access Control, could not be reached to comment on when the part would be in and the gate fixed, but a source in Access Control said, “We are at the mercy of the contractor.”

The fine for the first offense of parking in a faculty/staff lot, like Lot 12, is a $50 ticket and a boot on the car, which would block the spot or illegal area containing the vehicle until the issue was resolved. However, due to the parking spot shortage on campus, it is rare that the boot be put on for a first offense.

“With a boot, the vehicle is immobilized,” Ray Nesci, professional service specialist for Campus Police, said. “If there were more than enough parking spots, we would put the boot on. But it’s just not always practical.”

“The number of tickets probably goes up when the gates are broken,” Nesci said. Campus Police, however, denies that it has been patrolling the lot more frequently. “They’ll start in the lots where they know gates are broken,” Rizzo said. “We don’t want them to park where they’re not supposed to park.” The frequency with which they return, though, hinges on what is going on on campus on a particular day.

The strict parking policies are supposed to be in effect at all times, though it is common knowledge that ticketing in faculty lots, especially Lot 12, is suspended on weekends. Rizzo attributes this to different scholastic tests, meetings and seminars that occur in Forcina Hall over the weekend.

If the number of tickets has increased though there are no more police patrolling the area, it is likely that more students than usual are parking in Lot 12. The lot is reserved only for faculty and staff, and graduate students every night after 4 p.m. However, Parking Services has been fielding more complaints from staff about students using the lot.

“We do get complaints about the broken gates and more students than usual in the lots,” Katie Caperna of client services in the office of Student Accounts said. “A lot of faculty just aren’t happy. Can you blame them?”

Caperna said the staff does everything it can to calm those who are upset. Campus Police will continue to ticket students and visitors in Lot 12, but the issue will only be resolved when students park where they are permitted.

“The bottom line is you can only park where you’re given a permit,” Caperna said. “Saying that the gate was up is not a valid excuse.”