Jun 25, 2019

Policy questions arise with new parking fine increase

Photo illustration by Michael Uribes

The University Police Department announced last week that parking fines at Fresno State would be increasing beginning May 16th.

According to public information officer and parking administrator Amy Armstrong, students will now be paying double for a lot of the parking citations they receive.

“Most of them, like the $25 for not displaying your permit, or expired parking meter, those ones will double,” she said.

According to the UPD, the increase will enhance the support of alternative transportation and meet the requirement regarding the county courthouse construction fund.

Armstrong said that the UPD, along with the executive committee for academic senate and the student leadership group, decided to increase the fines after doing an evaluation of other California State University campus’ parking fines.

“We looked at what the fines are across the CSU systems and that was used to gauge what the appropriate amount would be,” Armstrong said.

Although the police department delayed a request for the survey of other campus’ fines until May 23rd, which falls 11 days after the final print edition for The Collegian of the semester, The Collegian was able to obtain information about fines from two other CSUs for comparison.

According to Thomas Dewey, chief of police at Humboldt State, their fine for failing to display is $33. However, people who have paid for their parking passes and failed to display may ask to be “forgiven” for their first offense.

“It is common for us to do that,” Dewey said. “If it is the first time the student has failed to display, for the person reviewing it to waive the penalty.”

At Sonoma State University, the fine for failing to display is $38, and students also have an opportunity to request a first-offense dismissal. However, their practice will be changing to an $18 fee for failing to display, with a zero tolerance policy.

The Collegian spoke to four sources, three of them faculty members at Fresno State, including Lisa Weston, head of the California Faculty Association, who all stated Fresno State used to conduct a similar practice before it changed its policy to zero tolerance in late 2010. The other three sources wished to remain off the record.

Amy Armstrong denied such claims.

“That’s absolutely not true,” she said. “Citations are issued based on if you’re following the rules or not. [Forgiving the first offense] would mean the citation wasn’t valid in the first place.”

University Police Chief David Huerta also denied the existence of any forgiveness practice.

“I’ve never known of a policy or practice where a ticket would be forgiven,” Huerta said. “I don’t know where the faculty came up with that.”

In an earlier article written by The Collegian, Armstrong reported that approximately $500,000 a year in revenue was collected from parking citations. However, she was not able to give an estimate for revenue now that the fines are increasing.

The Collegian also requested an analysis of estimated revenue gained from parking fines. That, too, will not be made available until May 23rd.

Armstrong said that UPD will be posting signs in the parking lots reminding students and faculty to “Pay, Park and Display.”

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