Parking issues last week were unnecessary

Last Tuesday, Oct. 5, students on their way to class struggled to find parking. Not just because there aren’t enough parking spots, but because busses from the high school Leadership Conference were taking up a few hundred spots.

Ian Mounteer drove to campus last Tuesday and went to the area he normally parks in, only to find it completely full.

When he noticed the rows of buses, he immediately just turned around and parked in the orange lot. He was lucky enough to catch the shuttle without waiting.

Last Tuesday, the Center for the Advancement of Leadership hosted the 11th annual Leadership Conference, bringing hordes of high school students to the campus.

Their busses remained parked in lot R during the event, denying access to almost 300 student parking spots for much of the day.

With no prior warning or announcement, university students were reduced to circling the lots like vultures, scavenging for the rare, empty stall.

Those lucky enough, or brave enough to risk a ticket for illegal parking, were able to find a spot with enough time to make it to class. Not everyone was.

To inform students of the situation would have taken conference organizers a fraction of the overall time and effort spent and would have allowed students to plan for the delay in finding parking.

According to Tena Medina, supervisor of Parking Services, no other location was available for the buses to park.

Understandably, they needed to park close enough for the high school students to safely walk to the UCCU Center. Events at the center also have priority over parking in the north lots, as some of their funding helped pay for the construction.

In short, parking issues that students experienced on Tuesday were unavoidable.

The breakdown, however, in communication and lack of announcement was preventable.

One day of delays out of an entire semester, especially for an event such as this, really does not amount to much. Twenty minutes of frustration and a day of griping is a minor issue that will be forgotten by midterms.

But they expose a serious lack of communication between departments and between the university and the students.

Four days prior to the leadership conference, three buildings were evacuated over a suspected gas leak and information from the university came late or was inaccurate – yet another example of poor communication.

Tuesday’s conference was planned well in advance, not on the fly during a potential emergency situation. Speakers were carefully lined up, rooms and venues dutifully booked and high schools informed months in advance.

Yet no thought was given to the impact of the conference on university students attending classes. No announcement was placed on the university calendar. No announcement was included with the weekly email.

Conference organizers should have taken the time to post an announcement through the university.

Even Parking Services was left out of the loop. Medina stated that she had not been informed of the bus parking arrangement until one of her parking enforcement students radioed in that buses were pulling into the lot.

If weekly announcements can be made about delays surrounding the construction on campus, surely event planners can do the same.

Students deserve to be treated with less contempt and more consideration.