Miami University will not charge employees for parking permits for this academic year, according to the university’s news website.
In an email to The Miami Student, Carole Johnson, Miami’s interim director of university news and communications, wrote the decision was made to show appreciation for the work of the faculty and staff.
Johnson wrote that due to the budgeting challenges caused by COVID-19, the university was unable to give faculty and staff raises this year. The waiving of a parking fee serves as a small gesture of gratitude from Miami leadership.
Sandy Steiger, director of the Center of Analytics and Data Science, said she thought the school’s decision was a nice gesture.
“I think, with everything that's been going on and the impact that ... COVID has had on everyone's lives, little gestures like this go a long way in building that loyalty in an employee base,” Steiger said.
Steiger said she believes part of the reason the university made the decision was because it realized many people weren't on campus and may not be returning.
Johnson said that waiving the fee was also meant to acknowledge the reduced use of campus parking by faculty and staff.
Leah Wasburn-Moses, professor of educational psychology at Miami, has not purchased parking passes from the school in previous years.
“I live very close to campus, and I take the bus and walk, but I had been planning on purchasing parking because my children are home and I'm trying to be away as little as possible,” Wasburn-Moses said.
This year, with the threat of COVID-19, Wasburn-Moses said she felt afraid of the potential safety risks involved with taking a bus and planned to purchase daily passes and metered parking. Since the announcement, Wasburn-Moses said she will likely change her parking method to a free permit.
According to Johnson, student parking fees are not being waived as students who are living on campus and have cars are still utilizing parking facilities. Johnson wrote that these fees help to pay for the upkeep of parking lots and garages on Miami’s campus.
Johnson wrote that she feels many employees are satisfied with Miami’s decision.
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“I can't speak for all employees, but I do know that it is definitely appreciated by the people I've talked with,” Johnson wrote.
According to the Miami news website, permits will still be enforced as they have in past years, so it’s important that employees who park on campus make sure they receive their free red permit.
The website also states that employees who purchased parking permits prior to this announcement will be contacted by the Campus Services Center for an automatic refund.