MARA KILGORE — In the weeks following the announcement by Police Chief Jim O’Neill that over 200 student and staff parking spots would no longer be available for use, University administration and students are searching for outlets to share and receive feedback on the issue.
After the first announcement, students initially turned to Facebook groups to express their frustrations and invite students into conversations. Rhayna Kramer ‘19, an English major from Columbus, began a conversation on the student body Facebook page with a post sharing that she was worried about losing access to parking during a time when she is traveling for job interviews. She asked students to email Chief O’Neill with their concerns and feedback so that changes could be made. When questioned by another student if she was responding too quickly with anger, she said, “this is no minor inconvenience; those who are upset are allowed to be upset and don’t always have to address university changes with grace and poise.”
Chief O’Neill confirmed that he has received quite a few, as he phrases, ‘the sky is falling’ type emails regarding the loss of parking spaces. He estimates that he has received somewhere between 125 and 150 emails from students with constructive criticism, complaints and support. O’Neill says that making changes to parking is difficult because our hill doesn’t allow for much mobility. He stresses that he understands the difficulty of seniors being displaced.
O’Neill explained that while he has received lots of feedback from students, he has not heard much from faculty and staff who lost their parking as well. While he is not the contact for faculty complaints, he believes that staff have been patient and understanding during the process despite their loss of parking.
It is now common to see student cars parked in the newly designated staff parking behind Curtis East which serves professors, Curtis dining staff and more. Dr. Erik Klemetti from Geosciences says, “I don’t think students recognize that staff have lives both on and off campus.” He explains that he now struggles to drop his kids off at school at 9 a.m. and make it back in time for his 9:30 a.m. class.
Brainstorming is underway as Denison administration searches for new ideas from a Red Frame Lab student group. They’re surveying for student input in creating parking lotteries for next year. Students can expect changes to parking as construction continues next fall.