On this scenic 114-acre campus of hills and hollows, bridges and footpaths, finding a place to park is like trying to find a four-leaf clover in a field of dandelions.
Campus parking continues to be a growing issue. With enrollment of 1,897 students and 2,034 vehicles registered to park on campus, does Wittenberg have enough parking?
Wittenberg Police Chief Jim Hutchins said, “With street parking and parking lots we are able to accommodate all of the registered vehicles as long as everyone follows the prescribed rules.”
However, some students try their luck by parking in the faculty and staff lots. Some find it inconvenient that these lots are off limits from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I think if there are open spots students should be allowed to park there,” senior Melisa Emming said. “5 p.m. is really late when most classes are done around 2 p.m.”
“I have been made late to class or work too many times due to finding the closest parking spot,” senior Caitlin Matthews said.
But how do students without a vehicle on campus feel about other students parking in faculty and staff lots?
“I can understand where the frustration comes from, but I get why you can’t park there during the day because of faculty and staff,” junior Evan Barnard said, “so I’m neutral about it.”
Faculty members Michael Mattison, from the English department, and Michelle McWhorter, from the biology department, each had their own opinions on students parking where they aren’t supposed to.
When asked if Wittenberg has enough parking, Mattison replied, “It depends on the day; sometimes no. There is enough parking on sunny days, but not on raining or snowing days.”
McWhorter, however, has had other experience with the topic:
“I came to Wittenberg from Ohio State, so to me, parking here isn’t nearly as bad as it is elsewhere – OSU specifically. However, there are definitely areas with more spots needed than are available.”
Mattison says his only issue is leaving to pick up his children and returning with nowhere to park in the Hollenbeck lot, where his office is. McWhorter on the other hand, doesn’t think that this should be tolerated.
“Students are not allowed in faculty and staff lots – they should not park in those lots. We are a residential campus; students can walk to their classes,” McWhorter said.
The lot across from the HPER Center is a popular parking spot. Student-athletes feel they should have a right to park there.
“We should be allowed to park there, especially for away games. Otherwise, we have to carry everything needed to travel and we have to walk back in the dark when we return,” Emming, a member of the volleyball team, said.
Junior Madison Linn of the women’s basketball team also finds conflict with the HPER Center lot:
“I just think it’s inconvenient for the athletes, because there are so many of us. I don’t think there’s enough parking for the HPER itself.”
This year, 709 tickets have been written. However, violations are down from a year ago. At this time last year, 841 tickets were written. All of the ticket money goes to the operating budget for the university.
Kelly Mahlum, facility director of the HPER Center, understands the frustration of student-athletes, but the rules must be followed:
“As a facility manager, there isn’t enough general parking for this facility to accommodate for any home turf athletic events or camps. There has been conversation, however, about additional parking with the new facility addition to the HPER Center.”
Having heard of the many frustrations, Hutchins has a message for students: “We are charged with upholding the policies that the university has set, including parking. When you bring a vehicle to campus, ensure that you register the vehicle within seven days. Once on campus, follow the policies.”