A new day dawns on the campus of Wake Forest. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, all is well in the world — or at least it appears that way until you walk past your car and see the dreaded white ticket stub placed under your windshield wipers.
How is this possible? You might rub your eyes, clean your glasses and squint to read the fine print. In the span of minutes, you become a significantly more broke college student than you already were.
While it is amusing to think about how ridiculous the parking fines are, there is also a deeper problem running underneath the surface. The parking department operates without mercy, increasing ticketing fines for students and refusing to conduct ticket appeals even when students have legitimate excuses for their mistakes.
Of the many victims of WFU parking police, I do not know a single person who has successfully appealed a parking ticket. One student I know received multiple parking fines last year while they were quarantined off campus for contact tracing. This student appealed their tickets and was told that the fine would not be reverted. How does it make sense that a student quarantined off-campus would have been responsible for moving their car? Does the university really hold parking fines in a higher place of importance than student safety?
Additionally, the recent spike in ticketing frequency comes in tandem with an increase in the fine itself. In my home city of Atlanta, Georgia Tech writes tickets valued at $15, no matter how many times the offender parks in the wrong space. (It is also important to note that Georgia Tech is smack dab in the middle of Atlanta where university parking would be valuable to not just students, but also city dwellers who need a space.) If a public university that houses thousands more students and charges far lower tuition understands that a $15 fine is enough of a slap on the wrist to keep illegal parking at bay, then Wake Forest should be able to come to the same conclusion.
Another ridiculous standard of Wake Forest parking police is that they are willing to ticket some students twice, just one minute apart. At this rate, students are not even given the chance to move their car or learn from their mistakes before another fine occurs. While it is true that double tickets are only given to students who have a history of parking illegally, it still seems excessive to ticket them twice. After all, Wake Forest parking directions are difficult to understand in the first place, and it’s all too easy to misunderstand that a spot that appears to be legal is in fact illegal.
Additionally, this double charge is not even permitted according to the Parking website! The website states, “$50 1st offense, $75 for 2nd and 3rd offense, $100 for 4th and subsequent offenses.” With such guidelines listed, WFU Parking should not be giving two $100 fines just a minute apart.
Just a few examples of these confusing spaces include the areas behind NCA — not all of which are labeled as maintenance but are technically designated as such. Another area of confusion is the general lot between Magnolia Residence Hall and Taylor Residence Hall. This lot has some spaces designated for faculty only, but the lettering is so old and faded in spots that it is virtually impossible to tell which of those spaces are off-limits. Yet another area of confusion is the lot between Farrell and the HES building. If fines are to be given, signs must also be clear.
At a school where students pay over $70,000 per year to attend, it is absolutely unnecessary that Wake Forest continues to enforce harsh parking rules and increasingly higher ticket fines. While the rules exist for a reason — and it is important to follow rules — these guidelines are far too harsh. The appeals department should be more considerate of the fact that we are college students — we are young, we make mistakes, we park our cars in a 10-minute parking zone and forget we have a meeting, and then forget we left our car there with the hazards on until the next morning.
A little mercy and kindness go a long way, and there’s nothing quite so senselessly infuriating as a parking ticket.