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The Daily Tar Heel

Students pay fee for night parking, faculty required to pay for pass

Undergraduate students, excluding freshmen, will pay for night parking — whether they have cars or not — through a $10.40 fee.

Students who do have cars may register their vehicles online with the Department of Public Safety and park freely after 5 p.m.

The fee was approved by the Board of Trustees, including former Student Body President Christy Lambden, in November 2013. Lambden told The Daily Tar Heel at the time that he reluctantly agreed to the fee over the alternative — a $227 year-long night parking pass for students who needed it.

“No one really likes it, but it’s sort of like death and taxes,” Faculty Executive Committee Chairman and professor Bruce Cairns said in an FEC meeting last week. “We had to be fair. This was the fairest policy to distribute the parking costs.”

Last year, junior Shanim Patel parked his car on campus for free at night and on weekends. He said he objects to the new fee.

“I think it’s just another way for the DPS to nickel and dime us,” he said. “I think the DPS as a whole is pretty useless as far as handing out frivolous parking tickets.”

Patel said he would prefer night passes be available to purchase for students who wanted them.

“I’m not sure why everyone would have to pay for a service that not everyone utilizes,” he said. “If you’re going to use nighttime parking, I have no problem with them making you purchase a pass like you do for the summer or normal parking, but to apply the fee across all students is kind of useless.”

Freshmen were already forbidden from parking on campus, and this rule will extend to parking at night next year. They will not be charged the fee.

“Freshmen are not eligible any more than they were for daytime permits,” said DPS spokesman Randy Young.

With undergraduate night parking settled and graduate students’ parking dealt with by a similar fee, concerns remain for University faculty and employees accustomed to using different transportation during the day and bringing a car to campus at night.

Anyone who pays for a daytime parking pass will also be allowed to park on campus at night, but those without day passes will have to adjust their habits or budgets.

The Faculty Executive Committee talked about how the cost of night parking permits may be a particular burden for low-paid groups like night-shift employees and postdoctoral researchers.

The permits range from $227 for the sub-$25,000 income bracket to $390 for incomes above $100,000.

Sibby Anderson-Thompkins, director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, said in an email her office has asked DPS to reconsider the issue.

Young said night-shift employees will have to buy night parking passes.

“The folks who are only working at night, their shift is basically the same as people who work during the day, except that traditionally, they’ve been receiving free parking,” he said. “So they would pay for their parking at night, for their nighttime work, the same way employees during the day have to. In the past, daytime parking permits have essentially subsidized those who park at night.”

Young said DPS does not plan to increase enforcement to inspect cars parked at night unless they see a particular need.

“We will concentrate patrols in certain areas if we believe there is abuse of night parking in those areas,” he said.

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