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Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Prices go up, still no parking
by Emily Ward
skiff staff

It’s that time again. Temperatures are still high, Howdy Week is wrapping up, Greeks are preparing for their new members and dorm move-ins have invaded the west side of campus. Fall semester has officially arrived, and I have decided to make this year my best one at TCU.

Reaching such a lofty goal, however, is never easy for any one student. After weighing the costs and benefits of my upcoming decisions, I have come up with a reasonably sized list of intents for my last year at TCU. At the top: To avoid parking violations at all costs.

So much for that idea.

It was not even 24 hours into this new semester before I found one of those charming yellow slips locked down to my car by a dusty windshield wiper. It seems getting my new parking sticker on the first day of class is considered too late for the TCU police.

It is now clear to me that only two things are certain: Tuition increases and parking violations. Critics of this idea talk about how much cheaper TCU is than other private universities in the United States and say parking is exponentially worse at other schools like the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

But these schools are not the ones for which I have such great expectations. An increase in the price of tuition is at least a little understandable and always predictable at any student’s favorite school. Inadequate parking and unreasonable ticket prices, however, are not things to which I wish to become accustomed.

I can honestly say parking was not terrible my sophomore year. During the 1999-2000 school year, parking violations did not put me into debt, though they were enough to keep me clean from purposefully breaking any rules. During that time, half of the quad lot still belonged to main campus permit-holders, and students could still purchase Coliseum permits for only $10. (No, I am not kidding.)

Life was good that year when it came to parking. There were not too many complaints, and I was never nervous about going bankrupt if I made a bad judgment call when I had to park somewhere unknown.

Then, the volcano erupted.

White lines were suddenly painted red, parking violations tripled in price and the $10 parking permit disappeared faster than Chandra Levy. I thought I had taken a wrong turn and ended up at SMU.

Things could not have gotten worse in my mind at that point, but little did I know things were only going downhill from there. Kindergartners should have visited TCU last Wednesday to get some counting practice with the number of parking tickets issued within the first few hours of the day. Then again, with the number of tickets given out, we should have probably assigned that task to the math professors.

It seems that as the prices of parking permits and violations rise, the number of parking spaces and ticket-free windshields declines. I am not doubting the ability of the TCU police to ensure safety on this campus. I think they have done an excellent job in that department.

I hope, however, the TCU Police are concentrating more on safety than collecting money from already poor students. It seems like students (and perhaps faculty as well) are the ones being made the victims in this parking crime.

In the end, I wonder if my excitement of being a senior is because I will be graduating in May or because I know I won’t have to deal with any of my parking woes after this year. Either way, I am still determined to make this my best year at TCU, parking tickets and all.

Emily Ward is a senior mathematics and news/editorial major from Springtown.
She can be contacted at (


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