Commuter concerns have a history of being ignored; is that changing?
Commuter students make up a sizable portion of this campus. Despite this, it has long been a trend on campus to leave commuter concerns and issues on the back burner to address them at a later time. For example, it took months for moldy ceiling tiles to be replaced in the Commuter Lounge in Bartlett.
Due to efforts taken by commuter representatives in the Student Government Association (Commuter Senator Julianna Saah, Commuter Senator Alejandra Osorio Candelario, Commuter Representative Sammy Zeino, and myself as a Commuter Senator), commuters have been given a chance to bring their concerns into the forefront of discussion during SGA meetings.
Most recently, commuters have expressed frequent and lasting frustration with the parking policy on campus, as these students almost always seem to be the ones most affected by it. Up until a few weeks ago, the application of parking policy towards commuter students seemed to be much harsher than how it was applied to residential students.
It was a common occurrence for commuters to come onto campus (the average commute time ranges between 30 minutes to an hour) and find their already overfilled designated parking lots further bogged down by residential students taking the limited spots.
Essentially, commuters were being inconvenienced by residential students — just so that residents could save themselves a walk that is less than a couple of minutes. Again, some commuters have to drive up to an hour to get to campus.
This issue alone is frustrating for commuters but is made even more frustrating when you factor in that these residential students were never ticketed for breaking parking policy. This issue was brought up to SGA multiple times by the commuter representatives before adequate action was taken.
After a discussion with the head of security, John McMurtrie, an agreement was made for parking policy to be equally enforced among all students on campus. This meant residential students who broke policy by parking in commuter/faculty lots were now being ticketed, just as commuter students who broke policy due to lot closures or overfill were ticketed for parking in residential spots.
I am happy to report that security has held to their word of beginning to enforce parking policy more equitably on campus. This may seem like a minuscule victory, but it means much more to the commuters. To us, it means our concerns and frustrations are being listened to and taken seriously by the administration.
As a commuter who has been here for four years and is about to graduate, I can confidently say that this has not always been the case. I am happy to see this change on campus, even if it is coming as my time on this campus wraps up.