Parking amnesty for late tickets may decrease end of semester stress

The Oakland University Police Department has started a limited time initiative to help alleviate student’s financial stress.

All parking tickets received on or after Jan. 1, 2018 with late fees will have the late fees waived until April 20. This is the first time Oakland has launched something like this.

“Parking citation amnesty programs are occasionally held at other universities and in some cities,” said Kenneth Kiley, director of Support Services. “We looked at several different models to help ensure our program is as successful as possible.”

Parking is not necessarily a commodity at Oakland and only certain spots are overnight spots. All overnight spots are painted with green except for spaces in parking garages that are covered. OU is one of few universities that prides itself in fee-free parking. Larger universities like Michigan State have students pay up to $300 for a parking spot on campus, often far away from the dorms.

Most students pay their ticket long before the late fees start piling on.

“Students and other visitors to campus do not generally rack up late fees on parking citations,”  Kiley said. “The violation fine schedule is posted on the Parking Services website along with information on when late fees are applied and what enforcement action will occur if a citation is not paid. Most offenders admit responsibility for the ordinance violation and pay or appeal the citation long before any late fees are applied.”

The timing of this amnesty period was also convenient as it is toward the end of the spring semester. This can help alleviate stress from last minute projects, papers and exams. However, it does not last until the last day of the semester, April 25. There were several factors which created the timeline for this program.

“The fact that this program fell near the end of the semester is convenient because a lot of students are currently tying up loose ends before leaving for the summer and this gives them an opportunity to start the summer without the stress of delinquent citations,” Kiley said.

What the late fees go toward is often something students do not think about. The money actually goes toward more safety measures on campus. One of the bigger measures of funding go toward the blue emergency phone towers spread around campus.

“[This goes into] the Oakland University General Fund which can then be turned around and used on other safety initiatives on campus that benefit the entire OU community,” said Nicole Thompson, lieutenant of OUPD.

Late fees can continue to go up the longer the ticket remains unpaid.

“Outstanding parking citations follow students from one semester to the next, and could even follow them into their professional careers once they leave Oakland,” Kiley said. “We want to provide a way for students to make good on their past parking obligations and focus on achieving success here at Oakland and beyond.”