By Carolyn Conte | The Duquesne Duke
Two recent changes in Duquesne’s commuter parking policy mean that students with non-residential parking passes will get some money back from the university, but are still prohibited from parking on campus between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless they receive an exemption 24 hours in advance.
On Oct. 23, the Office of Parking and Traffic Management announced via email that all commuter parking pass holders will receive a 12.5 percent refund for their passes, to compensate them for the time they cannot park on campus. Previously, commuters paid the same amount for garage and surface passes as resident students, who can park on campus any time.
This update follows an Oct. 8 announcement that commuter pass holders are now able to apply 24 hours in advance for permission to stay on campus in the case of “inclement weather” or school related activities.
Commuters have greeted the policy updates with mixed feelings.
Justin Morden, 20, senior finance major, serves as executive vice president of Duquesne’s Commuter Council. He helped to rally commuter students to push for a policy change after several students received $25 and $50 fines for leaving their cars on campus.
“There are many reasons why commuters would want to keep their car parked on campus past 2 a.m.,” Morden explained. “Thus, I see the price reduction as a fair policy, but not a perfect policy.”
Morden suggested commuters be given the option to pay full price for overnight parking rights.
Many students view being able to park overnight as a safety issue. Students who become ill, feel too tired to drive home or who drink with their friends at local bars must make the decision to drive home or risk a fine.
“By not being able to park past 2 a.m., students feel pressured to drive home earlier than they would feel safe to so as to not receive a ticket for staying late,” Morden said.
Jason Conlogue, manager of Parking and Traffic Management, said the reason commuters are still not permitted to park on campus for three hours out of every day is because“twenty-four-seven parking is meant for resident students and those who qualify for exemptions as per the new policy.
“Students who live elsewhere should have parking arrangements at that location,” he said.
Many commuters believe that applying for an exemption to the policy 24 hours in advance is not practical.
Commuter and classical civilization major Pamela Wisniewski, 19, pointed out that commuters are not able to predict if their car will break down 24 hours before it happens, and could therefore receive a fine.
However, many commuters have accepted the changes.
“I like that they’re trying to work with us,” web design major Joseph Oliveri said.
Overnight commuter parking on days during orientation, homecoming, Greek Week, Greek life’s Carnival and the weeks before and during midterms or finals will be allowed.
“I was very happy to hear that Duquesne chose to do the right thing by implementing a fair policy,” Morden said. “ I have spoken to many commuters about the change, and I think a large number of the commuters will be satisfied with it.”