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The Daily Tar Heel

Survey Results May Not Settle Issue

The online survey, which was created by the Department of Public Safety and sent out to students, faculty and staff Nov. 30, had 9,034 responses as of Tuesday.

The preliminary results were given on Tuesday to members of TPAC, which is considering whether to charge for parking on campus at night.

The final decision probably will be made in February, although officials said the timetable is still far from certain.

Cheryl Stout, assistant director of parking services, said the survey was released mainly to determine who is driving to campus at night, why they are coming and where they are parking. "I don't believe that this is a decision-making tool as much as it is an informational tool."

Derek Poarch, director of DPS, said he has not interpreted the results of the survey. He said it is too early to analyze the data because the results are preliminary.

Stout said DPS will accept responses to the survey until next Friday.

Student Body President Justin Young said he still needs to digest the survey's results, but he said he is not convinced of their accuracy. Young has expressed concern about respondents' abilities to submit the survey more than once.

He also said he is worried about the way the results will be interpreted.

"It's one thing to say that students need to park at night," Young said. "It's another thing to charge for it."

Young said that in addition to answering the survey, many students have responded to student government's Web site, which has information about TPAC's night parking proposal and ways to contact University officials.

"A lot of people have also responded with their own reasons why they need night parking and alternative solutions."

Although Poarch said he did not know about the Web site, he said he has received a number of e-mails from concerned students.

In addition to the survey, DPS officers counted the number of vacant spots in campus lots on Nov. 29 and this Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

DPS determined an average number of vacant spots during the two time periods for all three days -- but Young said he thinks there were errors in the numbers reported as averages.

Poarch said he is aware of this problem. "There are still some corrections that need to be done as far as averages."

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