Senate Searches For Parking Solution
By by ANNE GITTINGER, Managing Arts Editor
As many might have anticipated, parking topped the list of concerns addressed at this year's first meeting of the Student Senate Monday evening in the Cole Assembly Room.

James Brassord, director of facilities planning and management, and John Carter, chief of Campus Police, attended Monday's meeting to explain the reasoning behind parking changes and listen to student gripes and suggestions.

Brassord said that because of the town of Amherst's new system of parking permits, created to make parking easier on town merchants and residents, the College has had to look for new places for faculty to park. "To the College's dismay, we were excluded from the [town's] system," said Brassord.

The College hired a consultant to look for long-term parking solutions, but in the interim, Brassord said that the administration's decision to allot the Mayo-Smith and Newport House parking lots to faculty resulted from the fact that most of the displaced faculty members worked in the Converse, College and Morgan Hall area. "We knew it wasn't the best of situations," he said. "It was a series of compromises."

"We recognize the burden it's put on the residents of these houses," Brassord added. He also said that the administration has noted that only a few spots in the Mayo-Smith lot have been used by faculty. "We want to wait a little bit till we jump to a hasty conclusion on that," Brassord said.

Residents of Mayo-Smith and Newport who attended the meeting said that they said the felt they bore too much of the parking burden. "We feel like there hasn't really been a compromise," said Benjamin Baum '03.

Students also expressed concern about safety issues. "Whereas it might be an inconvenience for [the faculty to park in Hills Lot]," said Marisol Thomer '02, "they're here during the day, and that's a fundamental difference."

Brassord said that because more students will be parking in Hills, he has hired an engineer to look into building a tunnel under the train tracks for easier access to the lot.

"The College is being penalized for the town's unwillingness to build a parking garage," said Steve Vladeck '01. "I don't mean to sound like a fascist, but at some point we need to look out for our own needs."

"We still have to preserve our relationship with the town," said Brassord.

"They're not really giving a concerted effort to preserve relations with us," said Student Government Organization (SGO) President Steve Ruckman '01.

Vanessa Champion '01 suggested using the new spaces in Hills for faculty spaces. "It seems like it would solve a lot of problems," she said. Brassord said that the administration had not considered that option.

Students also suggested allotting a few spaces in several lots for faculty rather than making two lots entirely faculty spaces (minus the two spots Brassord designated in each of the Mayo-Smith and Newport lots for temporary drop-off).

Residents of the affected houses said that they wish they had been informed of the parking situation before room draw.

Students also said that they were concerned about a more general parking crunch. Brassord and Carter said that they estimated that there were about 500 parking spaces on campus. They reported that currently, they have not sold 500 parking permits, but that they anticipate issuing 600 this year. Brassord explained that although they sell 600 permits, all 600 cars are not usually trying to park on campus at the same time.

Members of the SGO Executive Board told Brassord that they had brainstormed solutions for the parking problem such as selling separate parking permits for the different areas of the College or by assigning each student his or her own parking spot based on seniority and where the student lives.

"[Individual spots] would be very difficult and frankly an administrative nightmare," said Brassord. "It sounds like room draw times ten, but that's not to say we won't look into it."

Brassord said he would also look into another student suggestion to borrow spaces from the lot of the church behind Alumni Lot.

At Monday's meeting, the Senate also passed a resolution to have elections for three first-year senators at-large, to give the freshman class more representatives in the Senate than it currently has.

The Senate also discussed the progress of the addition of paper towel and soap dispensers to the dorms and noted that Health Services added afternoon walk-in hours from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Senators also talked about the lack of condoms in upper class dorms. Vladeck explained that a recent-though not necessarily reliable-survey suggested that nonoxynol-9, one of the spermicides in College-supplied condoms, may damage the condom. The College has ordered a "truckload" of condoms with a more reliable spermicide, and in the meantime resident counselors are only putting condoms in freshman dorms.

In addition, Ruckman said that Valentine Dining Services had approached him concerning students leaving issues of The Student in the dining hall Wednesday evenings. He said that because of the papers, students do not want to work in Valentine on Wednesday nights.

Some senators suggested that The Student clean the papers up after dinner. Other students suggested that The Student not be distributed in Valentine.

"We do not have the authority to tell The Student what to do," said Ruckman.

"When a student picks up a a newspaper, it's their newspaper," said SGO Treasurer Ben Armour '01. "It's completely out of the hands of The Amherst Student."

"We really can't figure out a solution for The Student," Armour added. "We need to think about how we can better pick it up."

After discussion on other cleaning up problems, Ruckman said that the Senate should look into the general issue of people cleaning up after themselves on campus.

Issue 02, Submitted 2000-09-13 16:11:27