Hilltop Views

UPD must enforce new parking rules


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Good parking spaces at St. Edward’s University are things to be coveted, fleeting gems worth fighting for. And fight we do.

Happily, the university has made strides to improve on-campus parking in recent years. The 2009-2010 changes to the parking policies have been the most effective changes so far, but they must be enforced to remain effective.

Eliminating curb parking has improved campus safety, and the consolidation of parking lots and permit categories has made it easier to discern what permits are required in which lots.

The combination of Dujarié and Moreau Hall permits with residence permits allows residents more parking options than in the past. Also, the new hangtag parking permits are cheaper to produce and allow students, faculty and staff to move their permits between vehicles.

Despite these positive changes, drivers with green tags or no tags at all often occupy on-campus apartment parking spots, taking away spots designated for residents. Being able to park in front of the apartment in which one lives provides a sense of safety and security, especially at night. This feeling of safety is lost when residents have to park four or five buildings away.

The University Police Department’s Web site states that “The responsibility of finding a legal parking space rests with the vehicle operator and lack of space is not a valid excuse for violation of any parking regulation.”

So, although parking spots may be scarce, non-residents cannot park in lots specifically designated for residents. UPD must make a special effort to ticket non-residents parked in resident spaces.

The parking garage on campus is open to registered vehicles free of charge, and members of the St. Edward’s community should take advantage of it. Resident lots are clearly marked, and therefore it’s not okay for non-residents to park in resident parking.

Commuters and non-residents will continue to park in resident lots unless there are repercussions. UPD needs to ticket cars parked in resident parking illegally, just as they did with cars parked illegally on curbs, which worked beautifully.

Keep those tickets coming, UPD.

VIEWPOINTS

Last November, the St. Edward’s University Police Department gave the go-ahead for a suspension of the campus-wide gun ban to allow representatives of the United States military to set up an arms display on Ragsdale lawn. This was done in conjunction with a larger Veterans Day celebration, which also included informal recruiting stations, a Humvee, bipod long-barreled rifle, and an evidently faux rocket launcher.

I was the student who briefly disrupted that display by walking away with the rocket launcher to bring it into the main building, and was subsequently jumped by two display managers. To set the stage here, the facts as I experienced them were that a non-violent action meant to bring attention to the hypocrisy of ‘social justice SEU’ allowing a tasteless arms display was in turn met with clear and immediate violence, further reinforcing my (and others’) current opinion that the military represents little other than brute force nowadays.

However, that did not come across in the article because certain key elements of that story were omitted from publication. To this day both the student and faculty management of the Hilltop Views have proven unwilling to consider them, and in the faculty advisor’s case, to even listen to them. They actually banned me from working as a reporter, by e-mail, even in light of my years’ worth of contributions to that publication.

The key fact that the HV omitted is that I had the red hand marks of a Mr. Garcia, husband of SEU’s financial aid counselor, Christina Garcia, on my neck for five days following the incident. I sent the HV photos taken of my neck over the course of several days to document my claims, but this was never acknowledged. I have repeatedly brought this up, and the HV has sidelined me.

Furthermore, I filed charges with UPD against Mr. Garcia before the article was published. UPD twice took photos of my neck. Yet, progress has since to be made on that case, and I don’t think it is unrelated to the fact that UPD was in charge of approving of the display, or the fact that I was harassed and dissuaded from pressing charges by that department. Of course, none of this has been mentioned to the public. Other omissions include the voices of support or understanding I have received from the majority of student, faculty and administrators whom I have talked with.

Now, why should it make some so blindly furious to point out that the military is currently being used to create more trouble than good? It is no secret that the now three wars in the Middle East with direct American involvement are the most unpopular and destructive wars since Vietnam. Every day media outlets run stories of how many civilians had to die in order to target one or a handful of terrorists, who are, by the way, multiplying like the Hydra.

Many seem to think I am some sort of ideologue because I care. My question for those of you who said I should be expelled, arrested and/or deported to Russia is this: Do you understand why we have a military? The right reason isn’t to enforce a global Monroe Doctrine, nor to continue the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war. The reason is more in keeping with valuing civil liberties than anything, as they are what set this country apart.

Moreover, too many young servicemen and women are coming back home only to kill themselves. The domestic casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan triple when you take into account suicides. Just between 2005 and 2007 the military suicide rate increased 26 percent, according to the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, four-star general Eric Shinseki. And the president still does not write letters of condolence to families of military suicides.

Something is seriously wrong with that picture, and somehow I don’t think the answer is encouraging more guns and more gun nuts.

I have been raised to respect people who use their consciousness to devote their lives for the security and well-being of their fellow women and men. I think a lot of people who join the service fit that description. Even some journalists.

I came to St. Ed’s because I liked what was told of its commitment to social justice. I am committed as well. But I will probably leave being at least a little disillusioned with St. Ed’s, at least as long as it encourages what was being demonstrated that day.

Alex Lamb

[email protected]

 

Editors note: The editors are pleased that Alex Lamb has accepted the invitation they extended last semester, immediately after the Veterans Day incident, to write a Viewpoints piece. Lamb was also quoted extensively in both the print and online news articles covering the incident. The editors did not fire Lamb from the staff of Hilltop Views, as he asserts here. They did reassign him from his position as a news writer to, had he accepted it, a position as a Viewpoints writer. That offer of reassignment stands and the editors hope that Lamb will continue to contribute Viewpoints pieces. Lamb no longer covers news for Hilltop Views because his decision to engage in a public political protest violated a central principle of mainstream journalism – the requirement that reporters keep their political views private. Hilltop Views is at work on its own, updated ethics policy, which the editors will publish online when it is completed. In the meantime, editors and writers are prohibited from making public political statements, participating in political protests, holding political office or otherwise engaging in activity that could compromise the newspaper’s obligation of neutrality.

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UPD must enforce new parking rules