Online protest erupts over parking woes

Parking enforcement does not end at 6 p.m. on weekdays, contrary to what many students believe.
Photo Courtesy of Adrienne Robinson.

A ceremonial ground-breaking for the new 700-bed residence hall on FAMU’s campus took place Wednesday afternoon. And almost immediately afterward, some students took to social media to voice their concerns.

About 5,000 parking spaces were available for students before construction began last year for the Center for Access and Student Success, just north of Gaither gym. Now students feel as if they have no reasonable time frame to park and get to class.

The post that took social media by storm reads “We have a total student population of about 10,000 and there are 4,900 parking spots at the university, which doesn't include the number of gravel parking spots to be taken away following the building of the new residence hall, about 1,000 of those spots belong to employees only.”

Rajan Russell, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, said, “I have been enrolled as a student for almost four years. I'm confused as to why with every new semester parking gets less and less accessible. The shuttle doesn't seat everyone and also regularly arrives late. I have seen FAMU build new dorms, expanded cafeterias, and improved landscaping but nothing has been done to improve parking.

“I do plan on working with some of my fellow students to start a petition in hopes to not only shed some light but also find a resolution toward this ongoing issue,” he added.

Students have also expressed their concern about having to pay a parking/transportation fee with no increase in parking spaces for the rising number of students enrolled each semester.

Another factor that fed into this cyber protest was the increase of parking enforcement and FAMU’s police department ticketing and towing cars that were parked illegally after 6 pm. Students were confused as to why there would be an increase in parking enforcement after the university has once again taken away more student parking spaces.

FAMU Police Chief Terence M. Calloway believes the university is trying to accommodate students’ needs.

”We have the gravel  parking lot, stadium, FAMU Village, Welcome Center and the parking garage located by the bottom cafe to serve as parking for students,” he said. “Also, we have budgeted to add a third shuttle bus for the convenience of our students.”

Students have said that normally parking enforcement stops ticketing and towing cars after 6 pm, but a parking services staff member said that parking enforcement continues to ticket and tow cars well after 6 pm and this is nothing new.

“In all honesty, there is more parking than registered vehicles on campus.  Students have to understand there is no parking in the direct vicinity of their classes. We have a shuttle service and parking at the stadium in addition to around campus to accommodate the number of cars registered for parking," said William E. Hudson, Jr., vice president of the Office of Student Affairs.

"Students should arrive at campus early to accommodate their parking needs.  We are adding more parking with the demolition of the housing on the east side of campus,” said Hudson, Jr.

It is expected that over 120 parking spots will be added after the construction of the amphitheater on the east side of campus.

The shuttle buses on campus run concurrently from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

For more information on FAMU’s bus routes as well as parking services,, stop by the office of parking services at 1601 S. Martin L. King Jr. Blvd., or call parking services at 850.599.3000.