Students have complained about issues of clarity and transparency with parking and housing.
Guidelines for parking and ticket appeals are available online, but some students think they aren’t communicated well.
Lack of communication
Liz Friedmann, dance performance senior, said she had to appeal a parking ticket she received in the Methodist Hall parking garage.
She said she parked her car in a corner of the garage and didn’t return for four days. She had a ticket for parking in a restricted section when she returned.
Construction started on the corner of the garage after she parked her car there, but she said the area was not blocked off when she parked.
“I didn’t know this was a restricted parking area. They probably saw that when they put the cones up, so I’m wondering why they didn’t contact me,” Friedmann said.
Police told her they couldn’t find her phone number to contact her, Friedmann said.
“I know that it’s in the system because I’ve gotten calls from the university before, and they have my email on file,” she said. “They just didn’t do a lot to contact me.”
Friedmann went through the appeals process and got the ticket dismissed.
“The issue could have been solved if they just sent out an email to all the Methodist residents prior to the construction happening saying ‘this is a notice, you have 24 hours to move your car,’” Friedmann said. “Just in general, the communication could be a lot better on this campus.”
Parking in visitor spots
Friedmann’s boyfriend also received a ticket when he parked in a visitor spot on campus. He was driving her mother’s car, which had OCU stickers on the back, Friedmann said.
“I guess they assumed that, since there were stickers, it was a student, but they shouldn’t assume that because parents do come and visit, and they do have stickers on their cars for the students who go here,” she said.
Lt. Michael Kavenius said students often remove their OCU permit so they can park in the visitor’s area.
“When they do that, it’s taking up much needed spots from visitors,” he said.
Some students who remove their permit leave it in view of the window, Kavenius said. If campus police see the tag in the vehicle, they ticket them, but, in most cases, campus police cannot tell whether a vehicle is a visitor or a student, he said.
The guidelines and rules for parking are not clear, Friedmann said.
“When the whole visitor parking debacle happened, I pulled up the map and said, ‘so where is he supposed to park?’ If you look at the map, there are only a couple places that say, ‘must have a parking pass,’ but then people get ticketed for parking there anyway,” she said.
Methodist RA Bobby Tankersley, history sophomore, said there are outlines on the website where students can see the parking guidelines at okcu.edu/police/parking-map.
“If they have to park somewhere and they get a ticket, they can go to the police station for an appeals form,” Tankersley said.
Students can only apply for one ticket appeal per academic year.
Some of the responsibilities of students living on campus include understanding that sometimes students might not be able to park wherever they want, Friedmann said. But, she said, students deserve more transparency from the university.
Some students have issues with vehicle damage on campus.
Onnika Hanson, acting junior, said she was driving through the Methodist gate, which began to close and caught the end of her car as she pulled through, pulling the gate off partially. She called OCUPD to report the damage, and they assured her that it would be fixed.
Hanson was not financially responsible for the damage to the gate, but she still had to use her own money.
“I had to get my tire fixed because the gate ripped open my tire, and I also have a huge dent in my car,” Hanson said.
Campus police did not take down her name or any information about her after she reported the incident. She said it’s unclear what students are supposed to do in those situations. She also said she has concerns about who is considered responsible if vehicles are damaged while in the parking garage.
“I have no idea what happens if a pipe breaks over my car. If something having to do with the building damaged my car, I have a good feeling that I would have to pay for it, which, in my opinion, is not okay,” Hanson said.
Lt. Kavenius said financial responsibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.
“Students can report the incident to OCUPD, and then the case will be reviewed by the housing office,” he said.
Hanson also had to appeal a ticket that was issued while she was out of state last academic year.
“I got a ticket over Christmas break on Jan. 3. My license expired on Jan. 5, and I came back from Christmas break on Jan. 9,” she said. “I had a ticket for an expired license plate on a car that was not moving and was parked.”
She appealed her ticket, and, after she told campus police her car had not moved and showed photographic proof, the ticket was dismissed.
RA Tankersley said students should be able to park close to where they live, but should be aware of where they can and cannot park.
“The biggest responsibilities, specifically pertaining to parking for students, is that they need to know where they can and can’t park and know that there is a process that you can go through if you would like to appeal your parking ticket,” he said.
Tankersley said students who experienced damage to their vehicles as a result of the Methodist gate or construction in Methodist could email Michael Burns, director of housing and residence life, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin Culbertson, resident hall director of Methodist Hall, at email@example.com.
Culbertson was unavailable for comment. Burns refused to comment.