The University’s employees, many of whom use their vehicles to get to work, are required to buy a parking pass.
I understand it’s another method for the University to make a profit, but isn’t enough money made from students’ tuition and athletics? It’s unnecessary for faculty and staff to have to pay to park their car, so they can attend work.
Unlike students, the majority of faculty and staff doesn't have much choice other than to use their vehicles for transportation to the University. Students have the option of living on campus which causes some, particularly out-of-state and international students, to not bring their vehicles because of the convenience and close proximity to stores and restaurants that are within walking distance.
Those who live on campus also have the Student Union, which provides eateries, a mail room and a free food pantry. Students who live off campus usually live somewhere within 10 to 15 minutes from the University and can rely on Tiger Trails, the University's free bus system, to bring them to school and drop them off at their apartment. Students also use Tiger Trails if they need to grocery shop or go to a store far from their accommodation.
Faculty and staff can’t live in residential housing and apartments close to the University because they are only catered to students. Like most employees, college faculty and staff don’t live near their job because of personal finances, economic opportunity and housing availability. However, most non-college employees don’t have to worry about buying an expensive plastic pass to attend a job which centers around education and student aide.
“I’m so used to it now that I don’t even think about it,” said LSU Athletics Office Coordinator Jackie McClendon, who says she's worked at the University for 26 years.
Since when did it become acceptable to make employees pay a price to contribute their time, knowledge and care to the creation of well-rounded future leaders?
There are five parking plans for faculty and staff at the University. Plan A costs $60 per year and does not allow driving on restricted streets between 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Plan B costs $250 per year and allows employees to park in unreserved spaces at the center of campus. Plan C costs $500 per year and employees have reserved parking in a specific lot. Plan C is also first-come first-served and often has a waiting list. Plan D costs $1,000 per year and is for employees who have a reserved space in a reserved lot. The Employee Garage Plan costs $750 and allows employees to park on the first floor of the Union Square Parking Garage. All plans are payroll deducted, but new employees must pay for their pass in advance.
Even though employees can make monthly and weekly payments, it’s still ridiculous that they have to pay to attend work. Though there are several plans, some employees have no choice but to use a plan with parking lots closer to where they work on campus. Other employees choose the cheapest plan but have to walk a long distance.
Clearly, the University needs to consider their employees before profit. Faculty and staff play an integral role on campus by impacting the lives of students and representing the University. Why are they seen as pawns for money? No one should have to pay for parking, but the employees who shape our University's students especially should not have to pay for something as simple as parking at their workplace.
Hopefully, the University realizes the importance of its faculty and staff and stops making them pay to get to work.
Jasmine Edmonson is a 20-year-old mass communication sophomore from Denham Springs, Louisiana.