Parking permit prices need equal treatment

NIU did not practice inclusion when it hand picked which parking permit prices would increase this fall because the justification for increasing certain permit prices is not applied equally.

Reserved parking permits will see a $172 price increase, if the permit is purchased online rather than in-person. The reserved permits “underutilize space” in comparison to open lot parking areas such as the green or blue parking lots, according to a May 10 NIU announcement.

“Permit pricing increases were not made uniformly across all permit types,” according to the announcement.

The justification for the increase in reserved parking permit fees is an example of NIU’s inconsistency in policy making because the underused Lot C3, located north of the Convocation Center, went from $40 a year for a green permit to free.

The lot seemed empty a majority of the academic year except when there was a game at the Convocation Center or another athletic facility nearby.

To students who want to park for free at this distant lot, hop on route 2L, 8R or 9L of the Huskie Line. Permits are still required to park in this lot which can be obtained from Campus Parking Services.

Not only did NIU not uniformly apply the parking permit price increase based on its justification of usage, but NIU applied the increase to handicapped parking spots by $154.

If permits to see an increase in price are going to continue to be hand picked, handicapped parking spots should not be among the permits to see an increase in price. A person who is handicapped may have a physical disability, so access is important. Raising the price on a handicapped spot may intrude on accessibility for some.

NIU does offer a payroll deduction over one, five or 10 pay periods to employees to help employees pay for a permit. However, NIU does not extend this offer to students.

In the future, NIU should utilize its money given by state grants better to pay for repairs rather than putting the financial pressure on students and faculty. The Lucinda Avenue extension is a $440,000 repair to newly paved Lucinda Avenue, according to a March 21 Northern Star article.

The repairs will be paid with a Federal Highway Administration grant of $233,861. That money could have been used for parking lot repairs, however the Board of Trustees, with the exception of Trustee Timothy Struthers, voted for the money to pay for the extension, saying it was the best way to spend the grant, according to the Northern Star article.