Parking Ticket Woes Not Always Appealed

JULIANNE STRIBIAK | Staff Reporter IMG_1922

Bright green tickets decorate the windshields of many students’ cars and the dollars add up.

Junior Jordan Murphy said he received at least 10 parking tickets this year and tried to appeal at least two.

“None of them were appealed because they didn’t see my explanation as a good enough reason,” Murphy said. “Although I was in violation of Butler University Police Department parking codes, I don’t see them as justified due to the overall situation of parking on campus.”

Junior Dan Satterthwaite received three tickets this year totaling in $175.

“I tried to appeal my first $75 ticket because I thought it was absurd,” Satterthwaite said. “If your car isn’t registered they give you a $50 non-registration ticket, but then they’ll also fine you $25 for whatever lot you’re in, which I think is just pathetic.”

Satterthwaite said after his first appeal failed he just gave up.

“I don’t think any of it is fair,” Satterthwaite said. “I would have gladly paid the $65 for registration like I did in the fall of 2012, but $200 to be confined to one lot is just too much. And I understand that they built another parking lot somewhere, but I’ve never talked to anyone who actually uses it.”

BUPD’s Sgt. Banner is in charge of denying and granting parking ticket appeals and Assistant Chief of Police Bill Weber said, if a student is dissatisfied with Sgt. Banner’s decision, an appeal can be made to him.

Appeals are granted “when a citation was issued an error,” Weber said.

Some students do not even attempt to appeal their tickets.

Junior Daniel Cutter said he has not tried to appeal any of his parking tickets because he didn’t think anything would change.

“I’ve received about 5 tickets,” Cutter said. “I refuse to pay them.”

Murphy said he does not think students try to appeal tickets because “it’s a hassle, and we all know that they aren’t going to appeal it anyway.”

In order to avoid tickets in the first place, BUPD suggests alternatives like Dawg Ride, riding a bike or walking.

Murphy said he has considered alternatives.

“But sometimes the weather, my time schedule, and my distance doesn’t permit me to do that. Many times I could but I feel like I should be able to park conveniently instead of waste time, energy or my health just to avoid a $25 ticket.”

Murphy is a commuter and said his biggest problem lies within the Irwin parking lot.

“My suggestion to BUPD is to allow multiple decals in one area,” Murphy said. “For instance, instead of making that area A-only, why not make it A and C or A, B, and C. I don’t see how it makes any sense to leave that many spots open and not allow students to park there. It becomes a waste of space.

When asked how many parking tickets are administered each  month, semester or year, Weber said BUPD do not share that information.

He also did not know how many tickets are appealed, how many are denied and how many are actually granted.

Weber said he is not aware of plans to make changes to lessen the amount of parking tickets received.

When asked how much money Butler makes off of parking tickets each month, semester or year, Weber said that information is not shared.

“BUPD does not keep the money to pay salaries, purchase cars, et cetera,” he said.

Weber gave advice on appealing citations.

“When a student receives multiple citations and waits weeks to contact us, then the odds of an appeal being granted are very slim,” Weber said. “In other words, don’t wait until the end of the semester, then come to BUPD with a handful of citations and ask that they be granted.  If you do not understand a parking regulation the time to come is when you receive the citation, not weeks later after you have accumulated several citations.”

Weber said he had a meeting with a student last semester who had a couple of dozen citations.

“This student came to me on the last week of the semester and asked that all of the citations be waived,” he said. “I asked, ‘Why did you wait till the last week? What did you not understand about the parking regulations? Wasn’t your first clue when you received the first citation and yet you waited until you had over two dozen citations?’  The student said he was “busy” all semester, even too busy to call, send an email, or even appeal the citations.  When I hear pleas such as this, it is disappointing.”

On the other hand, Weber said a student came in after she received her first citation because of a non-registration.

“The officer was correct in issuing the citation. However, the student had not understood the regulations,” he said. “It was explained to her, she then registered her vehicle and the citation was voided out, and I am unaware of any citations being issued to her since that time.”

Students think how parking is enforced is another

“You would be surprised at the number of telephone calls we receive from residents in the neighborhood concerning students parking in front of their homes and students who call in when a B permit is parked in a G space, or an A parked in a B or G,” Weber said. “Any combination of letters you can come up with. Parking is enforced to help in maintaining some sense of order in the lots.”

Weber said parking on university property is no different than parking in a town or city.

“There are times during the week when the shift officers are kept quite busy,” he said. “As is PSO Chalmers, and not a single citation is issued due to other matters more pressing on campus. There are slower days too, when officers have time to issue a citation or two, but issuing citations isn’t an officer’s primary responsibility.”

Cutter said he thinks Butler should make three and only three types of parking: faculty, student, and visitor.

“This way, there wouldn’t be as much confusion, or petty competition,” Cutter said. “I just wish BUPD seemed more on our side instead if out to catch us at every pitfall.”

Satterthwaite said he still prefers to pay for parking tickets over an actual parking pass,

“I may have paid $175 in tickets, but since a parking pass costs $200, I still got away with not giving $25 to this place,” he said. “It’s the small victories sometimes.”