Freshmen, beware: Parking should be a privilege

Anybody who stayed at the University of Miami over the course of Hurricane Frances surely saw the same breathtaking natural phenomenon: empty spaces in the parking lots.

It seems that every semester at UM starts with a parking problem, and the 2004-05 academic year is no exception, with what seems to be an exponentially increasing number of vehicles attempting to squeeze into what looks like a significantly smaller number of spaces. The result is many unhappy students who all have to deal with exhausting distances from car to class prolonged by butter-thick humidity.

So as always, loyal Ben Minkus readers turn to this column space for a sufficient strategy to change the situation. And luckily, I have one; otherwise, you would have just wasted the past minute reading my little intro.

So, here it goes.

Freshmen should not be allowed to have cars on campus.

Hold on now, freshmen. I know what you’re thinking: it isn’t fair to point fingers at the freshmen-everybody parks, regardless of age, so if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Wrong! At many colleges, including the University of Florida, parking is on a seniority-based system, meaning that the students further in their studies get the better spots in the closer lots. Under such a system, freshmen would park in the garages while upperclassmen attended their mainly attendance-based classes free from the ritual of arriving fifteen minutes early and stalking students leaving the classroom buildings. In turn, the university creates a cycle whereby every student’s parking situation improves over the course of his or her academic career.

Another more extreme system would be to forbid freshmen from bringing a car to the university, period. This would make certain events, such as concerts and the upcoming presidential debates, less of a parking hassle. More importantly, it would keep club-hopping freshmen on campus to explore the various opportunities the school has to offer, from organized activities to active organizations.

So, all we have to do as a student body is collectively push Student Government to pass this idea for next school year.

And freshmen, if that doesn’t sound like much fun to you, consider this: You’ll be sophomores next year.

Ben Minkus can be contacted at b.minkus@umiami.edu.

September 20, 2004


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.