A resolution to reduce parking violation fees and allocate additional parking spaces for residents was passed by Student Government 17-10, despite a senator’s attempt to block its passage Monday night.
Senator Kent Grimes expressed his objection concerning the bill, citing funding issues. Grimes said there are already limited parking spaces for students with permits, without the addition of violators who would essentially receive a discount for parking in spots without permits.
Grimes said the resolution was “parasitic to the parking services department” because it reduced their income. During his objection, Grimes proposed an amendment to block the bill’s ability to reduce violation fees.
However, the amendment proposed by Grimes was rejected and the bill was passed.
A referendum was passed last year making Speck an all-commuter garage.
Senator Gabe Schrade proposed a resolution that had been discussed at the last Student Government meeting, allocating 207 parking spaces at the top floor of Speck Garage to the 598 expected residents of the new Moore Street residence hall.
“Parking on campus is like the Hunger Games, especially if you live there,” Schrade said.
Currently, the university has allotted only 22 new spots to the incoming residents of Moore Street Hall.
Schrade proposed the spots be commuter parking during the day, and exclusive to campus residents at night. The students with evening classes who park at Speck Garage have access to parking at Bobcat Village, Bobcat Stadium and Mill Street.
Andrew Homann, senator and student body presidential candidate, said students can park next to Alkek and Harris Dining Hall from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Grimes attempted to block this bill as well, proposing an amendment requiring the amount of parking spaces to be determined by parking services. The amendment did not pass.
Without the 207 spots, 1,481 freshman students living on campus would not have access to reliable parking, Schrade said.
Because half of incoming student residents are expected to bring their vehicles, 119 of the 598 expected incoming student residents would be out of luck, Schrade said.
In addition to parking concerns, the Senate discussed upcoming changes to Alkek Library computer labs.
Ken Pierce, vice president of information technology, spoke to senators at the student government meeting about moving the computers situated on the second floor of Alkek to the fourth floor.
Alkek currently has circulation and reserve services, the interlibrary loan office, and the research & information desk as well as reference materials located on the second floor.
Pierce said the design criteria his department has in mind would leave some computers on the second floor.
“The goal is to have more computers on the fourth floor so students can grab chairs and whiteboards, putting students to work,” Pierce said.
The department’s current strategy is to replace the circulation desk with a café, he said.
“That’s what we are anticipating,” Pierce said.
All of the computers in Alkek will be reimaged over the summer, with security framework cited as a top concern, he said.
The topic of extending library hours to allow students round-the-clock access was also discussed.
“We have kept he library open for 24 hours during finals before, but not that many students came,” Pierce said. “I haven’t seen a proposal yet, but there’s a cycle there.”
Pierce mentioned Baylor University keeps the first floor of their library open 24 hours. Alkek staffing and computer usage will have to be analyzed before the issue can be tackled.
Senator Jake Herrel proposed a resolution to reduce parking violation fines for students.
The proposed resolution would “ensure that the heavy financial burden of higher education is not further exacerbated by exorbitant fine amounts for those students already paying tuition and fees to the university.”
Herrel said parking services officials set a goal on parking tickets, per a directive from President Denise Trauth to be self-sustaining.
Herrel said the parking services department takes on the $7 million a year in debt from the parking garages and must make up the deficit through bonds, fees and tickets.
The $10 fee for not displaying stickers properly should be changed to an official warning, Herrel said.
A correction was made to this article, which previously cited Justin Horton as a source. However, Senator Jake Herrel was the one who spoke. A previous version of this article mentioned that an amendment by Senator Kent Grimes passed. It has since been corrected as the amendment did not pass.