Save us students a spot; Board hogs 20 spots all day for short meeting

By Staff Editorial

Students and administrators have spent countless hours finding a $1.7 million solution to arguably the most salient campus-life issue: Parking.

An ongoing effort, it will come in many small increments and an abundance of innovative thinking.

A parking committee comprised of students, administrators and faculty has found a way to create 468 new spaces this summer. Last summer, re-striping and re-purposing of existing lots created 72 new spaces for the bargain price of about $2,000.

Despite all of this effort, all of the grief and tardy marks the congested lots cause students, it seems we are still at square one.

On Tuesday, the Oakland University board of trustees met in the Elliott Hall auditorium for an hour and 24 minutes from 2 p.m. to 3:24 p.m. For that short meeting (our campus editor who had to sit through it would argue otherwise), 20 parking spots right in front of Elliott were blocked off so that the seven trustees and apparently quite a few others could pull right up.

This is where you imagine hearing somebody scraping a needle across a southern rock record for dramatic effect. Everybody lowers their sunglasses, and the board members feel awkward for their faux pas.

Maybe this service, provided by OU Police Department as a courtesy, is just a long-standing norm that has yet to be reconsidered. But we know that the board is aware of parking issues on campus, as it’s frequently addressed at their meetings.

Their meetings are once a month, which is worth noting. And sometimes they don’t even meet for months. The last one before Tuesday’s was in November. The bulk of them are in the summer when parking isn’t such an issue. So it’s not like they have to make this arduous journey, say, three times a week.

Many administrators who work on campus walk to the meetings. President Gary Russi and his colleagues are often spotted on the walking path between the Oakland Center and Elliott. So we know those extra spots aren’t for them.

It’s time the board considers giving up these spots, for the sake of the hard work this university is doing to remedy the parking problem. We suggest they take advantage of the luxury golf cart sometimes used to corral visitors, like they did at the Community Outlook meeting held on campus over break.

Shortly after the board meeting ended, a woman pushing stroller was spotted heading to her car from Elliott. There are sidewalks, but there happened to be a utility truck parked on it, right at the intersection of Library and Pioneer drives. She had to push her baby in the road as motorists whipped around the corner. She may have been one of the thousands of people Tuesday who could have parked a little bit closer had those spots not been reserved.

Putting aside 20 spots during one of the busiest days on campus during the busiest times is just kind of cruel.

This is prime real estate our tuition is paying for. A re-pavement project in the lot between Graham Health Center and Wilson Hall will yield 10 spots, costing us $12,300 per spot.

We are willing to pay the cost, but not to have the spaces sit vacant for the benefit of seven people.