Parking: the issues beneath the issues


Pablo E. Ortiz

Parking issues have long plagued the Missouri Southern campus with students being the primary complainers. However, faculty and staff have also recently experienced issues finding parking.

Everyone is already aware that parking is a major issue on the Missouri Southern campus. 

One person parks crooked, another takes up two spots, and yet another parks in a spot normally reserved. But an issue thus far unaddressed is the available parking for faculty and what happens when those spots aren’t available.

Multiple teachers have received tickets for parking illegally because they couldn’t find a spot and didn’t want to be reprimanded for being late to class.

“I checked all around here [motioning to the parking lots around Plaster hall], I checked the big parking lot, there was nothing. I had to get to class so I parked here next to the building [referring to Kuhn Hall]. What could I do?” said Dr. Achala Tiwari, adjunct professor of English. 

Michael Rodgers, assoc. professor of English and philosophy, responded with laughter when asked if he’d ever received a parking ticket.

“I parked over at Hearnes one time and ran in to sign some papers,” said Rodgers. “I wasn’t in there five minutes and they gave me a ticket for parking in visitor when those were the only spots left. Came back another day and put the hanging sticker in my seat and then parked in visitor, they gave me a ticket for not having it in the window. They want to deny my appeal? That’s fine. I’m not paying it.”

Similar stories were reported from several other faculty members, all admitting to having this trouble during the hours of 9 a.m. – noon.

Guy McMullen, adjunct instructor of English, said, “When I first started here, campus police would work with you. If they knew you were new on campus or a teacher late for class, they would write a warning instead of a ticket. Not anymore.”

 Physical Plant Director Bob Harrington, stated, “I can tell you that there is more than enough parking on campus for all groups.” He admits that students parking in reserved spots is a known problem and goes on to state, “If I am made aware of an issue where faculty cannot find designated parking spots, I am more than happy to correct the situation and designate more F/S parking.”

 After speaking with Harrington, a map of parking on campus was made available to find out exactly how much was allotted to faculty and staff. The spreadsheet of parking availability, last updated November 2014, revealed that of the ~4,000 spots only 452 were set aside for employees.

This fact led to speaking with a member of Human Resources who revealed that the 452 spaces are actually not nearly enough. According to HR, there are rough 525 full time employees any given day. Plus, approximately 186 part time employees. This means, on a good day where all employees show up, roughly 259 people would be left without parking spaces. This number also does not include the number of spaces taken up by students parking in F/S spaces

Students caught in faculty spots are given tickets, but that doesn’t open up the space. As of now it is unknown whether or not there are exceptions for teachers that need to be in class on time and don’t have a spot to park.

When the tag on the car is scanned it brings back who it’s registered to and reveals if they are in fact a school employee. The kind thing to do would be to take the time from writing a ticket, and instead walk into the building (or call) where the employee works and simply ask them to move their car.

Several attempts were made to contact Campus Police Chief Kennedy, none were successful in receiving answers.