With recent changes in various administrative departments and with the ongoing attempt to make dining at UR a better value for students, it has become evident that administrators are finally starting to realize that students should be taken seriously. While there have been great strides in making dining better, there are other aspects of the university that undermine and destroy all of the positive institutions and changes.

The administration needs to immediately direct attention to Parking Services and UR Security, and better increase communications between them before problems grow any larger.

Just last week, for example, Parking Services decided that the best way to inform students of the new policy that they implemented without any student input was to physically put paper fliers on the windshields of cars in Park Lot.

This, of course, is just a minor problem, when far more disastrous ones occur on a regular basis.

Parking Services regularly oversells spaces in parking lots, only adding to the students’ frustration when trying to find a free space in the lot. When Park Lot overflows now, for example, students are forced to park near the Graduate Living Center for overflow.

Additionally, parking tickets and wheel lock fines can only be paid with cash or with a credit card, leaving students to scramble when trying to pay off a fine in order to get home. The difficulty of paying parking the exorbitant fees they request after 4:30 p.m. – when all of the parking offices close – and the threat of towing within 24 hours discourages commuters from staying on campus after the end of classes. Parking seems to act as a phantom menace, with students finding tickets and wheel locks without anyone to discuss the matter with, and limited office hours to facilitate that discussion.

Parking Services needs to be radically revamped and there are a number of actions that can be taken to address this seemingly insurmountable crisis, including the addition of an open-door policy as a possible first step.

Administrators also need to hold a public audit of Parking Services so that students can see exactly how their money is being spent. Students should know if the nearly $300 for the permit is being spent on the River Campus or on expanding the Medical Center’s parking garage.

Following this, a new administrative position needs to be created that would provide students with a easily-accessible contact to address students’ concerns. This person needs to have the power to change and review policies in Parking Services on the River Campus, while being readily available to address concerns from students and administrators. This would encourage Parking Services to be accountable for its policies and its actions.

Following the lead of other local colleges in an effort to reduce some of the costs associated with parking, UR should consider hiring students to patrol lots and collect fees, which would aid in reducing the amount of money spent on salaries while putting a face to parking that more students can relate to.

Should Parking be brought into The College, which has successfully occurred with other departments in the past, the permit fee should instead be broken into three categories – money for parking maintenance, for security patrols and for snow removal. The money for security and snow removal should be shared by all students in their term bill, as everyone relies on the two departments for protection and for clearing pathways during the winter months.

UR needs to determine whether the current antagonistic relationship that students have with Parking Services follows what The College intends the UR experience for students to be.

Functioning between security and students has also become an issue of late, and it has become clear that communication between the two groups has broken down somewhere along the way. A common complaint among the fraternity houses is that security has not been forthright with them regarding issues relating to discipline following from possible criminal activities.

Security must also examine its treatment of students, and remember that while they are there to protect students and keep them safe, they should also practice courtesy, and extend the same respect to students that they would to anyone else.

Both Parking and UR Security’s services could be greatly resolved simply by utilizing the tool of communication. Various flows of it could facilitate a smooth functioning of all groups involved. If security would express a situation more clearly to students, including the implications, and Parking could be more receptive to student needs, all parties would benefit. If neither side communicates, neither will make improve campus life in any way.

Notes by Nadia: The myth of summer vacation

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The Clothesline Project gives a voice to the unheard

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 when founder Carol Chichetto hung a clothesline with 31 shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and childhood sexual assault.

Dinner for Peace was an unconventional way of protesting for Palestine

The dinner showcased aspects of Palestinian culture. It was a unique way of protesting against the genocide, against the Israeli occupation, against the university’s involvement with the genocide.