GSS students dispute parking

In a confluence of anger, an indignant Graduate Student Senate discussed abolishing the privilege that allows faculty and staff members to park in commuter lots without receiving a ticket Friday. At its second meeting of the semester, GSS, the government body for graduate students at the University, also welcomed the director of dining services, Gail Finan, to discuss the high costs of the Student Union’s catering services. GSS also passed a resolution that would conserve energy on campus.

Current parking policy dictates that those with faculty passes have the right to park in any of the commuter lots, even though 21 of the closest lots are already designated for faculty and staff parking, according to Treasurer Aurea Osgood. Much of GSS was irritated at this idea, considering those with commuter passes are ticketed when they park in faculty lots.

“It’s very dishonest to ticket somebody if they can’t park where they paid for because there isn’t any parking available,” Senator Kathy Rolsten, of the music education department, said. “It’s a financial scam!”

Realizing the improbability of faculty and staff members relinquishing this privilege, Jim Rose, the Representative-at-Large, suggested that certain commuter lots be designated as overflow lots for faculty and staff when their lots are full. Another solution discussed was the parking garage that will be erected within the next five years. Unfortunately this garage will only be replacing a current parking lot and will not be an answer to the lack of commuter spaces, according to GSS president Deirdre Rogers.

GSS decided to postpone voting on legislation related to this matter until further research could be done.

Officials at Parking and Traffic could not be reached for comment. Also on Friday, the director of dining services, Gail Finan, briefly attended the meeting and listened to concerns from senators about the high prices of catering at the Student Union. GSS felt that catering’s high prices were discouraging student organizations from using the Union as a venue for their events. It was considering legislation that would allow food items purchased outside the Union to be used at these events, which the Union currently prohibits.

In response to these concerns, Ms. Finan mentioned that student organizations that are recognized by the University receive a 20 percent discount on catering. Some members of GSS did not feel that this was an adequate consolation.

“[Ms. Finan’s] answer was you get a 20 percent discount, which in my mind said that she doesn’t think there’s a problem with the prices,” Senator Juan Marin said.

In response to this dissension, Ms. Finan said that most restaurants only discount 10 percent. “We’re actually undercutting our costs by giving them 20 percent,” she commented.

GSS voted to withdraw this legislation to allow Ms. Finan, who has only been director of dining services since this summer, a chance to rectify these problems.

In other legislation, GSS passed a bill requesting that the University administration create and place stickers above the light switches in classrooms around campus. These stickers would remind students, faculty and staff to turn off the lights after leaving the rooms. This bill was proposed as an inexpensive way to save the University money by conserving energy.

GSS meets twice a month in room 308 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.