BY: MELISSA GONZALEZ, firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Senate voted 13-6 in support of parking lot rate increase recommendation on Mar. 28.
The parking recommendations, a yearly review conducted by MSUM’s Facilities, Grounds & Safety Committee (FGSC) propose an increase in price for general, reserved and all zone permits.
The money collected from purchasing permits, paying for metered parking and fines are in place for maintenance, repairs, re-construction and snow removal.
The proposed increase would bring the general permit prices from $165 to $175 per year, from $100 to $110 per semester. Reserved permits would go from $250 to $265 per year, from $145 to $160 per semester and $70 to $85 per summer.
Finally, the ‘All Zone’ permit prices would go from $310 to $330 per year, $175 to $200 per semester and from $90 to $120 per summer.
In terms of structure, FGSC suggests that R4, the parking lot north of Hagen Hall, maintain its reserved status in order to be used for future Weld Hall renovation for set up of construction materials.
Although the majority of student senate was in support of the recommendations, opposing senators voiced concerns based on student constituents.
“I’ve spoken with approximately 30 students this week,” said student senator Stevie Larson. “I showed them all the numbers and all 30 said that there’s no way we should be increasing the parking fee until they actually do something to improve the parking. So I’m going to stand with the students and say no.”
Student senator Larson’s comments began a debate among the senators. A majority of student senators acknowledged that an increase in prices, although inconvenient, would benefit the student body and the condition of the parking lots in the future.
“Okay, but that’s why they need to increase it so that they can make changes to the parking,” said Vice President Marcus Mergen (philosophy; Albany, Minnesota.)
“I understand the reasoning, but I’m saying students at large don’t,” Larson said, “And I don’t think we should be supporting this if they don’t understand or approve of this.”
After Larson’s input, President Rahil Pereira suggested an awareness campaign to help students be better informed about the situation.
Among the dissenters, student senator Khalid Nakelly opposed an increase in permit prices and suggested an increase in fines instead. Student senator Isabella Grafstrom suggested a 25 cent meter parking increase.
Student senators further debated the costs and benefits of the rate increase and ultimately passed a motion to support the recommendation.
The review period ended on Thursday Mar. 28.
“Facility, Grounds & Safety will review the feedback that I get next week and they’ll make a recommendation to cabinet on the proposed changes,” said Ryan Nelson, director of Public Safety. “The cabinet will review the proposed changes and decide to go with the recommendation or not. And if they don’t, maybe we’ll get some input.”
After the meeting, Mergen appreciated the different perspectives shared among the senators.
“I will send the email to Ryan Nelson tonight telling him that Student Senate approved that recommendation,” Mergen said. “In that email, I will also go over the concerns that were had by the rest of Senate, not just say ‘we approved it,’ I’ll make sure to include there was some hesitation in that approval.”