Parking wars loom at YSU

In the annals of dumb decisions made on the hallowed grounds of Youngstown State University, the one that granted bonuses to 400 employees for student enrollment increases will forever take the cake. Why? For the simple reason that the members of the Association of Classified Employees had nothing — nada, zilch — to do with enrollment. They pocketed the sizable bonuses and laughed all the way to their favorite vacation destinations.

But last week, another potential decision was discussed on campus that is triggering a full-throated guffaw from the peanut gallery.

It has to do with parking, and the administration’s belief that all students taking more than six credit hours should pay the $100 a semester to park on campus. It doesn’t matter if you get to YSU by bus, by bicycle, by skateboard, by wheelchair or on foot, you would still have to pay. Currently, only those students who want parking passes are required to shell out the $200 an academic year. YSU President Cynthia Anderson, who held a question-and-answer session with students and faculty, attempted to spin the idea by tugging at students’ heartstrings.

Police protection

“We cannot keep you safe if you’re parking across Belmont Avenue,” said the president. With a parking pass, you could park in university-sponsored lots, which are better protected by campus police, Anderson contended.

But given that YSU has 6,755 parking spaces, how will the influx of new permit holders be accommodated? Welcome to Parking Wars at YSU.

Members of the board of trustees will be taking up this issue in the not too distant future, and when they do they should answer this question: If you’re going to force all full-time and most part-time students to pay for parking, what about the more than 1,000 employees who park for free? Indeed, there are assigned lots for them.

Youngstown State University provides $531,000 worth of free parking — that’s, five hundred and thirty-one thousand dollars. Of this amount, the faculty gobbles up $212,000.

By contrast, students who park on campus today pay $100 a semester and $51 for a summer school pass.

By what Nobel Laureate thinking does it make sense to gouge the students even more than they’re already being gouged — wait until you see the fees they have to pay — and give the administrators, faculty, professional staff and other employees a free pass?

If, as President Anderson says, the money is needed to help pay for a $25 million new parking deck and other parking functions, why isn’t every member of the university community being asked to participate financially?

There is a link on YSU’s website called “Student Fees and Charges Effective Fall 2011” that details what it costs to attend the open admissions, urban institution. It’s a shock to the senses. Little wonder that some students have to work three jobs to keep their heads above water.

The list lends itself to sarcasm. For example, there’s something called “Information Services Fees” that is as follows: 1-11 credits, $9.54 per credit; 12-16 credits, $114.48 per semester; over 16 credits, $9.54 per credit.

Each college also soaks the students. As an example: the College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (juniors and above), the fee is $17 per credit for 1-11 credits; $204 per semester for 12-16 credits; $17 per credit over 16 credits.

Want to be inoculated for Hepatitis? There’s a fee for that —$125. For meningitis, it’s $75.

If you’re a music major and must perform as part of your course work, there’s a Performance Music Fee of $75 per credit.

Police academy

Want to be a cop? You must pay $300 a semester for the Peace Officer Training Academy.

Getting your doctorate degree in physical therapy? There’s a $500 deposit for being accepted into the program.

If you’re one of the students who happens to be pursuing a degree that requires a thesis, it will cost you $25 to have it bound.

And then it’s time to graduate. Be prepared to shell out $65 for the Graduation Fee.

But there’s good news. YSU doesn’t charge students for using the drinking- water fountains, breathing the air, or talking on cell phones (noise pollution, you see.)

Sarcasm aside, the university should park the idea of most students paying.

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