(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University students have long been frustrated with parking on campus, with many complaints concerning a lack of student parking or the high prices of fines for violations.
Most parking tickets are $40, but a fine can go up to $110 if a student fails to register their vehicle.
“It’s so hard to find parking, it’s always faculty and staff,” said Annika Seppela, a junior human development and family studies major from Greenville, S.C.
“I just stopped parking anywhere on campus or around campus. I just started parking at my friends house off campus,” she said. “I always hear of people getting tickets for small reasons too. So for me, it’s just not worth it.”
Hannah Edens, a senior human development and family studies major from Clemson, S.C., said she received a citation after she parked in a space reserved for students visiting the Health and Counseling Services offices in the Crawford Building.
“I think that they need to have more spots available for students on campus, especially with the health center,” said Edens.
“I didn’t feel like that was right. Not only was I out $110, but I had proof that I was in Crawford and not getting Starbucks, which (the ticketing officer) assumed.
“I think that they need to make students more aware of what you can and can’t do, when you can park somewhere, what times you can park somewhere,” said Edens.
However, Ken Scoggins, chief of the Campus Police Department, said parking rules are often updated and students must refer to the campus police website in order to keep up to date on new regulations.
“I have the opportunity, each year, to speak with all incoming freshmen the Saturday following move-in (to explain the rules),” said Scoggins.
Most parking tickets that Winthrop police issue are from students parking in the wrong spot, according to Scoggins.
Students are required to register their vehicles with campus police, in order to get a parking sticker, and a ticket for failing to register a vehicle is a little more expensive than the actual cost of registration.
Students can also choose to register their vehicle after a citation.
“Once the vehicle has been properly registered, the citation will be dropped and the fine effectively becomes $0,” said Scoggins.
Students can also appeal a parking citation, but Winthrop requires all tickets to be paid before an appeal can be heard.
To file an appeal, the violator must pay the ticket 48 hours after receiving it and then submit an appeal form to campus police within 10 business days.
The appeal is then heard by a board that is filled with both students and staff.
“Our appeals process is fair and impartial and no campus police employees sit on the appeals board,” said Scoggins.
However, Edens said the appeal process was a long and difficult process, which began with an initial interview with the officer who wrote the citation.
“The cop that was in there was very rude. He remembered who I was and called me the ‘sorority girl who he gave a ticket to,’” said Edens.
His attitude changed, she said, after she provided proof that she was visiting the counseling center when she received the ticket.
Edens said she eventually won her appeal, but it took five months after she was first issued the citation.
“All appeals are eventually heard in as timely a manner as possible,” said Scoggins.
He also noted that campus police does not benefit financially from writing parking tickets.
“The monies collected from fines go directly into a revenue fund,” said Scoggins.