Letter to the editor: Apr. 12, 2010

Dear editor:

In your March 23rd issue, Staff Writer Susan Murray suggests that specified “staff” parking spaces should be eliminated and parking given on a “first come, first served basis.”

Her frustration at seeing unused staff spaces at a time when it’s difficult to find an open space to park anywhere else is understandable.  I’d like to point out a couple of issues that she may not have considered, however.

First, many professors are substantially older than the average University student. Providing preferred parking that reduces the demand for long-distance hiking is a courtesy to those of us who no longer have the option of running four-minute miles. I speak from sad, 63-year-old personal experience!

Second, many professors carry large loads of papers, computers, projectors, speakers, books, etc. for use in classroom presentations.  It’s more than just a convenience for a professor in such a case not to have to carry this equipment any further than absolutely necessary.

Third, many professors work part time.  We come to the University to share our expertise with many students and we come from our other employments to do so. We often need to cut it close to get from our day jobs to our University classrooms.  Because our presence is essential to all the students in the room, it’s important for us to arrive in a timely manner.  Reducing the need for frantic parking searches is not just a benefit to the professor in such cases, but to every student in the room.

Finally, quality professors are the heart of a University.  Universities are only as good as the teachers who teach in them.  Professors usually have invested many years getting good at the job they do.  Giving them small signs of respect and appreciation, such as a designated parking space, is simple courtesy.

Reed Elliott
Associate Professor
Communication Disorders and Sciences