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Parking committee failed to include student voice

By Bonnie Meibers, For The Miami Student

Student representatives did not attend last semester's Student Parking Appeals Committee meetings - not because they skipped, but because they were not invited.

Student representatives were not invited to join the Student Parking Appeals Committee meetings until two weeks ago, chair of the committee, David Beitz said.

The Associated Student Government (ASG) was up in arms over the supposed slight.

"We were contacted at the beginning of the semester and all responded with meeting times that worked for us then were never contacted again after that," said Maggie Reilly, ASG's secretary for On-Campus Affairs.

The Student Parking Appeals Committee meets every other Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. Headed by Director of Parking Services, Miami University Police Department Lt. Benjamin Spilman, the committee views appeals on student parking tickets and citations.

As stated by the Miami University student handbook, section 6.5 C, the Student Parking Appeals Committee is composed of students, faculty and staff.

Student members for the committee are recommended by the president of ASG and later approved by President David Hodge. This committee listens to and acts upon all appeals to parking citations for Miami University students.

ASG discovered they had been left out of meetings when students were receiving answers to their appeals, and the student representatives from ASG had not been included in these decisions.

"We just put two and two together," Reilly said.

A misunderstanding between Miami's Parking Services and ASG caused the situation.

"What we have found out now is that there was an apparent miscommunication between our chief of staff and the chair of the parking appeals committee," ASG representative Elizabeth Beumel said.

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Yet, the student representatives' contact information was not sent to Beitz, but a different faculty member.

"I never received anything from ASG," Beitz said.

Because Beitz didn't receive that information, the email inviting student representatives to Student Parking Appeals Committee meetings was never sent out.

According to Spilman, the Student Parking Appeals Committee reviews more than 2,800 appeals a year.

When student representatives did not come to meetings, the rest of the committee, made up of faculty and staff, Beitz included, had to push forward so that those asking for an appeal did not have to wait for an extended period of time.

The student representatives are now on the Parking Services Google calendars, and are made aware of every meeting.

At least one student representative from ASG attends every meeting.

Kevin Krumpak, ASG's secretary for Off-Campus Affairs, was at the student parking appeals committee meeting last Friday.

"Whether that was their fault or our fault, that doesn't matter, we have student representation now," Krumpak said of the miscommunication.

Parking Services has a reputation of being quick to hand out parking citations and tickets among Miami students.

"We have a tough job here at the university," Spilman said. "We are trying to regulate a very limited resource."

Spilman said he thought it important to convey Parking Services wants and values student participation on the Student Parking Appeals Committee.

"The more active student participation and feedback we get, the better parking system we can create," he said.