When 20-year-old Jennifer Smith walked towards the parking lot of the library where she remembered parking her car, she was surprised when it wasn’t there.
Smith, a junior political science student from Cleveland, immediately knew that her car had been towed:
“I was running late for class,” Smith said. “I didn’t think they would tow me.”
She believed “parking tickets don’t count if students don’t have decals.”
But Florida A&M University officials said tickets do count and they will make someone pay, even if it’s not the student who committed the parking violation.
The Parking Services Department merged with the university’s Police Department in May, making it easier for police service technicians to link tickets to students.
“We find students by researching their license plate numbers through our database,” said the university’s Assistant Police Chief, James Lockley.
The student might not get the citation directly if they use a car not registered in their own name-instead the owner of the vehicle would foot the bill.
“If the owner goes to renew their tag, we are able to block them from renewing,” Lockley said.
Parking services has created other ways to ensure that past due citations are paid, such as registration, transcript, and diploma holds.
But, they have even gone a step further. “We are booting,” Lockley said.
Parking services uses a new ticket tracking management software that allows them to write, process and bill tickets faster than the past manual system, Lockley said.
The software allows police service technicians to know if students have more than three tickets. Lockley said after three citations, students will get a boot on their tire, preventing them from driving.
Then students will be responsible for the $55 boot removal fee, in addition to the citations. If the fees are not paid within 48 hours, their vehicle will be towed.
“You have a right to appeal tickets,” said John Kirby, director of parking services division of the University’s Department of Public Safety.
Students have five days after they get a citation to appeal tickets to student traffic court.
“If they rule in your favor, then the ticket is thrown out,” Lockley said.
Parking services holds can be viewed on Our FAMU.
Many students think that parking services should focus more on creating more parking areas, instead of giving tickets.
Justin Robinson, 20, a junior political science student from Miami, said that campus parking is limited. Robinson said he thinks that the boots are not necessary.
“They should be more lenient to us and our parking privileges,” Robinson said.
Some students feel that some people have to put more effort into getting to class than others.
“Parking is good for students closer to the stadium. But parking is an issue for students on the south end of campus, ” said Chris Lawrence, 21, a junior business administration student from Sanford, Fla.
Elias Jules, 28, said he parks off campus because parking is so tight.
“I have to walk to school, when I already drive,” said Jules, a junior computer information science student from the Virgin Islands.
Contact Carla Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org