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Students face uncertainty purchasing parking permits

A “Permit Parking Only” sign warns vehicles parked in the bottom of the North Parking Structure at Westminster College Sept. 1. All vehicles parked on campus need to display a valid parking permit, according to Westminster’s parking services page. Photo courtesy of Madison Covington.

Campus Patrol requires all vehicles to display a valid parking permit while parked on Westminster College grounds, according to Westminster’s parking services page. With the policy, commuter students, residents, faculty and staff are left with the decision to purchase a parking pass for the 2021-22 school year.

Amelia Jones, a senior sociology major, purchased parking passes in the last three school years, but is hesitant to purchase one this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“[The commuter parking pass] is too expensive,” Jones said.

There are three types of parking permits — the commuter permit, the resident permit and the Westminster on the Draw permit, according to the college’s parking services page.

The commuter parking permit costs $150 or $100 with a Westminster license plate for a full year, according to Westminster’s parking services page. Per semester, the parking services page said the pass costs $110 or $85 with a Westminster license plate.

The resident parking permit costs $200 or $150 with a Westminster license plate for a full year, according to Westminster’s parking services page. Per semester, the parking services page said it costs $145 or $125 with a Westminster license plate.

The Draw parking permit costs $180 per semester according to Westminster’s parking services page

Cole Porterfield, a senior international business major, purchased parking passes during the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. Porterfield said he is reluctant to purchase a pass this year.

“With the delta variant of [COVID-19] growing more rapidly I worried for online schooling and didn’t want to waste my money on a parking pass I might not use,” Porterfield said.

COVID-19 has played a huge role in parking this year, according to Jerad Nigh, the campus patrol supervisor/parking and has done parking services at Westminster for three years.

“[COVID-19] for sure has an impact on parking at the college,” Nigh said. 

Nigh sent an email to the Westminster community Aug. 3. 

“We want to make move in as stress free as possible,” Nigh said. “Parking tickets will not be written until the beginning of September. Please be respectful and only park in designated parking areas.”

At this time, there have been about 600 parking permits sold, according to Nigh.

“Parking tickets have been written,” Nigh said. “[Parking tickets] can vary daily.”

Campus Patrol enforces tickets Monday—Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., according to the Parking Handbook.

“We still see quite a bit of vehicles with no pass, and some that have expired passes,” Nigh said.

Fines cost $15, according to Westminster’s parking ticket payment page.

“We urge everyone here at the college to buy a pass to avoid being ticketed. If you get a ticket, and decide to buy a pass, we will always dismiss that ticket,” Nigh said.

Students and faculty and staff can purchase a parking permit for the 2021-22 school year on Westminster’s purchase a parking pass page.

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