Commuter Chaos

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The parking stories that are posted, such as this one, were submitted to BU Now as part of our Parking Horror Stories contest.  

  By Ross M. 

    I am a student who lives with his parents during the summers.  When the semester begins, I live in Mainville (about 8 miles from campus).  The first day of classes, I woke up early and left my parents house in Scranton, PA and drove to campus.  I arrived in Bloom about 8:15 AM and being that it was the first day of class and the fact that I had a black decal last semester, I parked in the lot behind the library.  Since my last name begins with an “M” I was not supposed to register my vehicle until the 2nd day of classes (Tuesday).

     On Mondays I have class until 8 PM.  After that class, I come out to the parking lot to discover a ticket on my vehicle.  The ticket was for not having a tag displayed.  I thought to myself, “Its the first day of class…. and I can’t register until tomorrow!”  So, since it was after 8 PM I figured I’d take care of it the following day.

     Tuesday morning I drive to class and once again, park behind the library.  I walked down to the BU Police to inquire as to why I received a ticket.  When I explained my situation, the secretary responded, “If you left your old decal on you wouldn’t have gotten a ticket.”  I replied, “But the decal expired May 9th, 2008.  The day after the sticker expired I peeled it off.”  She then said, “We sent a letter out to all students in the middle of the summer explaining the parking situation.  Besides, most students leave their stickers on their car.”   I replied, “First of all, I never received a letter.  Second of all, I’m not like most students.  I don’t feel the need to advertise how many semesters I’ve been here by leaving on all my old parking decals.  When they expire, I rip them off.  Would you please just look up my information to verify that I did, in fact, have a black decal last semester.”   She refused and said the only thing I could do was file an appeal — but you must first pay in order to file the appeal.  That wouldn’t be a big deal to most, but I don’t have checks (and they wouldn’t take cash) so I had to walk downtown to get a money order and then come back.

      And guess what was waiting for me on my windshield when I returned to my vehicle?  Another ticket.  Same story.  So I walk back down to the BU Police station — she tells me the same thing.  Had to go back downtown for another money order, etc etc.

      By the way, I would like to say that I did indeed get a letter explaining the parking rules for the semester.  However, it was sent to my Mainville address while I was living at home in Scranton all summer.  It makes you think, however, that the “important” things get sent to your home address…. like TUITION bills, for instance. 

     Now, on the appeal forms I wrote down the SAME EXACT explanation on both.  I received my money order back for the first, but not the 2nd.  So I filed an appeal to meet in front of the appeals committee. I also asked when the committee typically meets, and the secretary said, “Usually on Wednesdays.”  So I also wrote my Wednesday class schedule (I have lab from 1-4 and would not skip lab for $15 dollars). I received notification that my scheduled hearing would be at 1:40 PM on Wednesday September 10th.  Well, the first problem was that it was at 1:40.  However, that wasn’t the issue.  The real problem was that I didn’t get the letter in the mail until WEDNESDAY, SEPT 10TH.   I get home from lab that evening and open the letter.  Geeze, how about some advanced warning at least?

    The next day I went back to the BU Police office and although they would not admit fault for the mailing mix-up (even though I showed the envelope post-marked for Tuesday the 9th) they did agree to get me another time slot for the appeals committee.

    So anyway…. I did get notification that my appeal is scheduled for this Wednesday at 12:50.  My defense is that I’m going to hold up the returned ticket in one hand, and the other ticket in the other hand and say, “Why did I get my money back for one and not the other when they both have the same exact reasoning written on them?” 

    I’d like to point out that never during this process did I get mad at a secretary or the officers who do the ticketing.  I’d also like to point out that never during the process was the secretary mean or sarcastic with me.  She was professional and courteous throughout the whole ordeal and also very helpful.  I realize they are just like referees in that they have to follow university policy whether they agree with it or not. But never did I imagine that the University I’ve come to love would act like such vampires towards its student body.  I saw so many yellow envelopes on vehicles the first two days of class.  This was my first experience with the BU parking authority and I hope it is my last.

 

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