(STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)
There are spaces available in some resident parking lots at Stony Brook University. (STATESMAN STOCK PHOTO)

As a new resident transfer student, I can confidently say that so far, it seems that I have made the right choice with this school. However, there is one situation that had me stressing out during the entire first week of classes that I thought might be worth sharing.

As I went to the parking services office to get a permit to park in my residence’s parking lot, I encountered a situation that I was certainly not expecting: I was told that because I lack six credits to technically be considered a junior, I was not allowed to get a resident’s parking permit.

According to the campus parking services, one must have a minimum of 57 credits in order to be eligible for a resident parking permit, which means only juniors and seniors are allowed to bring their cars to the school. So this raised a simple question: What about freshman and sophomore residents? Don’t they get a chance to bring their own vehicle to the place where they are going to live for the next year? That does not seem fair at all!

The parking services office states that there are certain circumstances in which a freshman or sophomore may be allowed to obtain a parking permit. These exceptions include having off-campus employment, an off-campus internship or medical circumstances. That all sounds perfectly reasonable, but what happens to the rest of us? We are all paying tuition for this school. Therefore, the parking services office should not make any distinction between students when distributing parking permits.

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My family happens to live about an hour away from this campus. Therefore, I am constantly visiting them. I love my family and like spending time with them, but that means that to comply with our school’s parking rules I have to pay about $20 to ride the Long Island Railroad just to go see them. Of course, I also have to spend a lot of time on the train and as if this was not enough, someone has to pick me up at the train station when I get there. There goes my entire afternoon.

A reason the parking services office gave me for the limitations on parking permits is that there is not enough space for all of the students to park. That is understandable. It could get a little chaotic if every single student at this school had a car. However, there are two contradictions to this statement. First, not all of the students own a car – in fact, I dare say that many of them don’t even have driver’s licenses yet. Second, every time I happen to look at a resident’s parking lot, I always find plenty of free spaces in it. What are those spaces empty for? Any student should be able to get those spaces regardless of their class year.

Although it is understandable that not everyone at Stony Brook University can be allowed to obtain a parking permit due to the fact that there is still enough space, the school should revise the parking permit distribution system so that not only juniors and seniors benefit. We are all students of the same institution and therefore, we should all be treated equally.

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