Freshman are not allowed to have cars at Florida A&M.
Fair or not, there are reasons why the rule exists, which can be found on the FAMU website. However, some students are unaware of the restrictions.
Danielle Dixon, a freshman political science student from West Palm Beach, was unaware of her car restrictions and disagrees with the decision.
“I didn’t know freshmen couldn’t have cars,” Dixon said. “The bus can take too long, and in order for me to learn the city, I need a car.”
FAMU is not the only university that bans freshmen from having cars. According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, more than 58 college institutions around the country have first-year student car bans. An additional 11 institutions have extended car bans that do not only restrict freshmen.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison allows student parking under certain circumstances listed on its website. One circumstance is for working students who use their vehicle at least three times a week for off-campus employment. A signed letter from the employer listing scheduled work hours is required.
“I didn’t really need a car, but it would have been nice – mainly to go out,” said Shaquella Oaddams, a senior occupational therapy student from Miami. “I would have felt more independent if I had a car, but it was fun riding with different people to places because it allowed me to become more social.”
Why are freshmen not allowed to have cars? Why can’t they share the same privileges as upperclassmen?
Maurice Holder, a professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a former Faculty Senate president, was present during the parking policy’s revision.
“Around the early ‘80s – 83 or 84 – right when I became a senate, having the freshmen car policy was the best way to go at the time,” Holder said. “At the time, we didn’t have the parking garage that we have now so parking was very limited.”
Holder also explained how the freshmen class’s growth each year played a part in the policy’s revision.
“At first, dormitory living was a requirement,” Holder said. “We want our students to become studious on campus first before moving off campus. However, with the class growing each year, there wasn’t enough space. That’s where living off campus and owning a car would be considered with permission.”
Charles Jackson, a freshman political science student from Dayton, Ohio, doesn’t see the necessity for a car yet.
“I don’t need a car right now because I stay on campus, and everything I need is a 10-minute walk,” Jackson said. “If I need to leave campus, I can just take the bus.”