Did you buy a parking sticker? You may still get a citation

Danette Spiers

Buying a parking pass and placing it on your car guarantees nothing at CSUN. The $144 sticker doesn’t mean much if it is placed on the wrong window.

The parking pass must be properly placed and visible.

The regulations state that “when parking on campus, not displaying a valid parking permit, displaying an expired permit, or placing the permit in another location of the vehicle prompts citation of the vehicle.”

But the placement of the sticker should never override the validity of the sticker itself.

This policy ends up giving the Department of Public Safety the freedom to deny appeals for tickets given to students who already paid a ridiculous amount to leave their car in the parking structure for a few hours a day.

I understand the rules clearly now that I have had to go through the long process of appeal. The new stickers have to be placed in the lower right hand corner of the front windshield or they are not considered valid.

But the policy doesn’t stand true when tested. Officers are required to do a five-point window check when they approach a car and if the sticker is visible, but not correctly placed on the car, the officer is not supposed to give a ticket. How then is it right to deny appeals for such a ticket given by “mistake” to people who have permits?

The officer who gave me a ticket claimed he had done the five-point check and did not see a valid permit. That’s funny because it wasn’t hard to miss. I stuck it on the passenger window on the driver’s side.

I appealed the ticket, thinking I would never be denied, but I was.

I began to question why I even bought the parking pass to begin with if they didn’t care that I had one.

I understand that the Department of Public Safety has a job that includes keeping an eye out for cars illegally parked, but when a person can prove they have a pass that the officer didn’t see, they shouldn’t have to pay an additional $35 fee.

Plus, there is so much more going on in the parking lots that need attention. There are vehicles broken into almost on a daily basis. We could use more officers focused on safety, instead of more parking officers concerned about writing tickets.

This policy is taking advantage of students.

I met another person in the same situation I was in, but his sticker was in the correct spot. He received a ticket, appealed it, and was also denied. He said he just didn’t understand the reasoning of the denial or even getting the ticket in the first place. He mentioned that many of his friends got tickets too when they shouldn’t have.

He decided to ask an employee at the Public Safety Department if officers were given commission for the amount of tickets they write. She said no and then explained that they do not give automatic denials on appeals.

What I was able to figure out as I went further into the appeal process, is that the department makes it a pure frustration for students in the hopes they won’t continue to fight the ticket.

On my second appeal, scheduled during spring break, I waited for over an hour to see the “judge” who would make the final decision on my case. Another person, also there to fight a ticket, made a comment to the receptionist that they must be behind. The lady answered, “Not really, this is usual.”

The parking office just doesn’t feel a student’s time is as important as theirs. I was ready to leave when an hour came around, but decided to stick it out.

I explained to the hearing officer that I had misunderstood where to place the sticker and that I didn’t understand why I was denied. He said he would have to review my case further. He ended up accepting the appeal.

Finally, someone else seemed to see the flaw. The hearing officer stated that I was not in full compliance, but “made a good faith attempt to comply.”

Policy changes are needed in this particular context. The first thing we can do, both students and faculty members, is fight these tickets, even if denied in the first round. These guidelines are not only unfair, but unacceptable when people have purchased a pass allowing them to park at CSUN.