Emely Sanchez 0

Florida International University- Housing Parking Petition

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Dear Florida International University and the departments this concerns,

My name is Emely Sanchez, a student at FIU, I am in my junior year, proudly serve as a School Ambassador and reside in student housing. The purpose of my letter is to address and seek corrective action over the towing of student vehicles from parking designated for resident students. This occurs prior to football home games without giving adequate advance notice to student residents. As a student ambassador and student at the MMC for the past two and a half years I have never before encountered a problem with this university; contrarily, I applaud its many achievements as a “proud panther” and try to spread that pride to my fellow classmates. However after moving in the new student housing in the beginning of October this year, I have realized something that not only has affected me but also plagues many other housing residents. We all recognize that the school has an overall parking issue, and this is not a complaint about the availability of parking spaces. That issue is redundantly brought up and I hope is being addressed. However, the issue I and the petitioners below bring before you is a unique issue impacting FIU students who reside on campus and are having their vehicles towed from the housing parking lot to accommodate football fans.

As a new resident in Towers, I realized this problem on October 11th. On that Friday evening, as a student ambassador and e-board member of the Student Alumni Association, I had to attend the Silver Pride Reunion being held in the GC ballrooms. As I realized that I was running late to the event, I hurriedly made my way to my car parked in housing to grab my blazer, or so I thought. When I arrived to the housing lot, there were no cars. Suddenly a sense of panic, adding to my anxiety of being late to an event, overcame me. I remained calm and asked one of the men in road work attire where my vehicle was. The man was kind enough to explain to me that my vehicle had been towed due to an upcoming home football game, that I would be charged about $65, and seeing my frustrated face offered to have me taken to my vehicle in lot 5 via a cart. I was upset not only at the fact that I would be charged, but also because of the fact that it delayed me even more from working an FIU event.

After this first incident I realized that I had not been informed about this towing policy. In fact, I wasn’t informed until I received an e-mail on October 22nd, more than a week after my vehicle was towed. This e-mail from housing only briefly stated the towing policy along with several dates of home football games. Soon after I realized that there was a small sign on the light posts in the housing parking lot reiterating this same policy. However, since then I have only received one reminder email before a home football game, of which we have since had two (I was towed yet again recently as well). I soon realized that I was not alone in being upset with this towing policy and I began to think of other possibilities. There are many students like myself, that are not always aware of exactly when home games are being held. Thus, receiving advance notification via email and/or some other direct and clear communication is imperative to properly provide notice to the student residents of upcoming home games.

I find it unfair and unnecessary that a University that already has limited parking availability, due to a majority of its students commuting, to tow vehicles owned by students that do live on campus. It is known fact that there are simply not enough parking spots on campus, and certainly parking for home football games presents a problem. However, to penalize the students who reside on campus for the sake of accommodating football fans is poor prioritization of the school’s focus. Despite the high cost of student housing, designated parking is not provided to student residents. Thus, our vehicles are parked in the only parking lot dedicated for students housing, which we pay to be able to park by additionally purchasing a housing decal. When we park our cars there we have an expectation that our vehicles will be safe and free from towing. Furthermore, with the vast amount of land surrounding the football stadium, Florida International University, there are alternative locations where football fans can be redirected to park, thereby protecting the area housing parking where students living on campus park

I, along with other Florida International University students, whose name appear below, are petitioning the administration for the following remedies:

1. Eliminating the housing parking lot as a location for non-residents to park during home football games. The housing parking should be exclusively dedicated for students living on campus, and sports events should not be cause to oust these students from their housing parking lot.

2. Alternatively, providing student residents with a minimum of five (5) days notice of upcoming home games; additionally, prominent notices should be displayed on resident hall entryways and elevators at least 48 hours in advance reminding students of upcoming games and the parking policy. Such notices should be left on display, as referenced above, at least through the conclusion of the game.

3. All past and future towing fees should be forgiven and/or significantly reduced, until the parking situation addressed herein is resolved

Thank you for your time and attention to this very important petition.

Respectfully submitted,

BY: Emely Sanchez (and other FIU students who are similarly situated, and who have signed this petition below.)

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