May 19, 2022 | NEWS | By Denise Geronimo | Photos by Denise Geronimo
On a fateful December morning, after crashing on her best friend’s floor and waking up with “frat flu” symptoms, Lily Weaver ’24 was on a mission: She needed to drink some hot tea. With the nearest Dutch Bros only a 7-minute drive away, she promptly grabbed her keys and headed down to the East Campus parking lot.
However, she had made a rookie Colorado College mistake. She illegally parked overnight.
Upon walking up to her gray Honda CR-V, Weaver encountered an unpleasant sight. A bright orange ticket fluttered under her windshield wipers and a wheel came with a brand new accessory: a boot.
Unfortunately, morning tea would have to wait.
Weaver is among plenty of CC students who have dealt with this year’s strict parking regulations, and like some, she once believed she could cheat the system. She was wrong.
Every year at CC, the administration expects students with on-campus vehicles to register with its office and purchase a $200 parking pass for the full academic year. Vehicular registration and permits are only open to second, third, and fourth-year students because of scarce parking resources, but they offer the benefits of legal parking near housing assignments and 24/7 protection from Campus Safety tickets.
One catch: CC parking permits are “specific to designated parking lots,” meaning one parking permit only works for a singular lot on campus. According to the Colorado College Parking website, if a student decides to park a car outside her assigned space, the campus has the authority to subject her to fines, tire boots, towing, loss of privileges, or a misconduct case.
And while these threats might deter some from breaking the rules, other CC students could care less.
“I typically drive to class and park in the nearest parking lot,” said Nova Yu ’24. “I have a car here for a reason, and if I’m running late, I’m going to use it.”
Like other students, Yu has the mindset that it is better to risk getting a $10 parking ticket than to walk across a small liberal arts campus.
“What can I say, sometimes, I am too tired or the weather is terrible,” she said. “I’m going to drive.”
Yu went on to share that she once illegally parked for an entire block when she had a class in Cornerstone. She lives in Breton Hall. According to Google Maps, it takes approximately eight minutes to walk from her apartment to Cornerstone.
Now, why are some CC students like Yu so comfortable with taking financial risks? It may be due to a myth running around the rumor mill. According to students interviewed for this story, some CC drivers are under the impression that they do not have to pay parking fines.
“I didn’t know I actually had to pay parking tickets,” said Sammy Heller ’24. “I didn’t really take them seriously.”
Campus Safety’s response? That is not the case at all.
“There are kind of like parking expectations and agreements that when you applied for a permit or inquired, you were given, you know, a list of expectations,” said Campus Safety leader Adreanna Trujillo in a recent interview. “Nothing in there says to ignore the ticket, recycle it, throw it away.”
Trujillo is the recent December hire for an associate director position for Campus Safety, and her job includes overseeing campus parking. Being new to the school, she is not completely aware of the CC culture and has been trying to quickly adapt to her new role. That hasn’t always been easy.
According to Trujillo, parking was not enforced at all last year because COVID made the college a “de-densified campus.” People were free to park in any lot for as long as they pleased. And after a whole year of relaxed rules, students and faculty members got used to it.
As a result, once new students arrived and the whole campus community returned for the 21-22 academic year, Trujillo found it hard to reinforce the old parking rules, especially since she had to do it alone.
“We don’t have a parking person right now,” Trujillo. “That position is vacant.”
In the past, there has been a designated parking officer that works directly out of a Worner office. However, since there is nobody currently in that position, the college has forced Trujillo to temporarily take on the role, she said.
On a recent weekday, the Worner office had the lights off and the door locked. According to Trujillo, that is normal. The office is only used as a storage space for Campus Safety.
But the issues don’t stop there. Trujillo also has to deal with a new city permit parking initiative.
Last August, the school and city entered an agreement on neighborhood parking to foster “a good relationship” between the college and Colorado Springs locals. According to the college, CC community members have been parking in the surrounding neighborhood for years, creating a “point of contention” in the school’s relationship with outsiders. Consequently, CC agreed on parking regulations with the city in the hopes of alleviating some local animosity toward the college.
The City Parking Permits are required in the following areas:
- “The 1200N block of Wood Avenue.
- The 1200N block of Cascade Avenue.
- The 1200N block of Tejon Street.
- The 00W block of San Miguel Street.
- The 00E block of San Miguel Street.
- The 300E block of San Rafael Street.
- The 300E block of Yampa St.”
All on-street parking citations are issued by the city police–not CC Campus Safety. Those with tickets cannot pay the college directly for a violation. Instead, they have to pay through the City of Colorado Springs. If CC drivers want to continue to park on the street, they have to go through Campus Safety and buy a permit for $150.
Not all students are willing to cough up $150 to park along the street. Again, some CC students could care less.
According to Sid Santos, the CSPD campus resource officer who issues city parking citations, the city permit requirement has been ineffective as CC members continue to evade the law and park wherever they please.
“This year is the year that I’ve written the most tickets,” Santos said. “I probably write five or six a day.”
Since fines, boots, and warnings do not seem to work on some students, one has to wonder: Will students ever listen?
Whether they like it or not, CC Campus Safety plans to make them.
Shortly after a May 5, 2022, interview with The Catalyst, Trujillo made a formal announcement via the CC Digest. The message said drivers must pay for their outstanding parking tickets before the end of the eighth block. If delinquent payers do not, they will “not be eligible to register [a] vehicle for a parking permit for the next academic year.”
How students will respond to this parking memo is unknown. Maybe students will finally follow the rules, or maybe they won’t. Perhaps, they will have to learn the hard way–like Weaver.
After that fateful December morning, Weaver had to pay around $150 with her own money to resolve past tickets and remove the boot from her Honda.
“I would recommend to anyone who’s reading this article,” said Weaver, whose own parking job for the duration of her interview remained under questionable legitimacy, “Do not park illegally if you do not have the permit. Don’t do it.”