Director of Security Bill Whorley sent an email to stu­dents on Oct. 7, 2015, announcing that the con­struction of the new lot on the corner of N. West and College Street was com­plete, but the lot was only for faculty and staff.

He reas­sured campus, saying, “The really good news is that it appears that the even bigger lot, cur­rently under con­struction on the south west corner of N. West St. and Gal­loway Dr. (north of Simpson Res­i­dence Hall) should be com­pleted by November 1, 2015. This lot WILL be des­ig­nated as a Reg­is­tered Vehicles (Stu­dents) and Vis­itors lot, 24/7.”

The com­pletion of the lot was delayed, but once it opened, Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé told the Col­legian the lot would only be open to vis­itors, faculty, and staff.

Student rage ensued.

I propose a com­promise.

The new large lot on the corner of Gal­loway Drive and N. West Street should be open to stu­dents 24/7, as Whorley promised us back in October. However, during the college’s busiest weekends — CCAs, Parents Weekend, Ori­en­tation, and Com­mencement — the lots should change to “guests only.”

Whorley should email stu­dents (as he did last week) and remind them guests come first for those weekends. Security could then ticket stu­dents who ignore common courtesy.

Those eight emails — one per event — could reduce student anxiety over parking and allow us to entertain guests simul­ta­ne­ously. Security cur­rently patrols those two lots for rogue student vehicles, so this com­promise might even reduce security’s workload.

The con­struction of the new parking lots on N. West Street took away parking from stu­dents, and the admin­is­tration went back on their word regarding the newest lot.

The rationale behind the change makes sense. The college built the huge new Searle Center, which requires ade­quate parking for the 700 or more guests it can seat for dinner. And inviting those guests to campus is of utmost impor­tance — many of them are donors who allow us to have the edu­cation and facil­ities we enjoy.

However, Hillsdale College is still a college. And col­leges need stu­dents in order to exist. Stu­dents who have cars on campus want to be able to drive them up the hill — par­tic­u­larly when it’s five degrees out and even a cold car allows some pro­tection from the ele­ments.

Part of the reason more stu­dents are driving to campus is because the college tore down many of the closest off-campus homes to make way for newer and better con­struction. The effort is worth­while, but until the college builds addi­tional housing, it leaves many stu­dents living further and further from classroom buildings. Like faculty and staff members who live down the hill and drive to work, stu­dents desire that same con­ve­nience.

Instead of adding parking, recent con­struction has reduced the number of spots available to stu­dents. Worst of all, the new lots created for faculty and staff spend most of their time nearly-empty since, for the most part, guests aren’t around during school hours. Yet stu­dents get ticketed for parking there even when no one else needs the lot.
This com­promise would allow everyone ade­quate parking without cre­ating more work for anyone.

I hope the admin­is­tration will con­sider this com­promise as a fair and bal­anced way to handle a com­pli­cated issue.