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Parking discussed at forum

By Briana SmithSPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE

A Hofstra alumnus joked that parking has been a problem since 1996. But it truly is an ongoing issue, and students are stressed. They miss class, or are late to class, or even receive fines. Nineteen years later, the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) of University Senate say they are ready to put an end to this dilemma.

The SAC has been holding a series of parking discussions this week to receive input from a variety of students. On Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., residents, commuters, faculty and William Finnegan, chair of the SAC and a senior English major, gathered in the Student Center to discuss problems and solutions to the parking crisis.

Some of the suggestions from students were to “assign parking spaces to specific people,” “encourage the residents to walk” and “require a fee for freshmen to park their cars.”

“I am listening to the students’ side because they are the University’s blood and life force,” Finnegan said. “If I didn’t listen, I would be ignoring prime ideas.”

The Senate’s main focus is limiting resident parking on the south side of campus from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., then they will continue working to resolve the other complaints.

“I hope there’s more availability for everyone to park. I don’t think it should be faculty versus students or students versus commuters. I just think there should be more spaces,” said Rachel Karmel, a commuter and a junior music education major.

Karmel usually parks in the Netherlands lot because the commuter lot is always filled. If she is unable to get a spot there, she said, then she is forced to park illegally. That results in her vehicle being towed and a $50 fine. Since freshman year, her car has been towed seven times.

“Hofstra enrolls a certain amount of commuters, so they should have a certain amount of spots for them,” Karmel said. “Each resident gets a room. Why shouldn’t each commuter get a parking spot?”

Although commuters face many struggles trying to park, the struggles faced by residents to park are also great. Brittany Scalise, a senior triple major in global studies, geography and psychology and an R.A. in Stuyvesant, said she becomes frustrated when she leaves her parking spot and returns 10 minutes later, with nowhere to park.

“Maybe take a poll of who lives in the actual building and who parks there generally, and reserve those spaces for residents instead of commuters,” Scalise suggested at the event.

Many other proposals were made at the meeting, such as:

• Construct more parking lots.

• Encourage commuters to park on the North side because there are more spaces there.

• Create a fact sheet that shows the time it will take to walk to specific locations and the calories one would burn, to encourage walking.

Finnegan said that, after this week, he is going to look over all the suggestions, research what other universities do with parking and present the best solution he can find to the University Senate.

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