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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Re: Parking at UMass Boston

Can I get a parking space? Commuters of UMass Boston unite. If I wanted to be bussed to school, I’d take the god damn bus to school. Forget the usual arguments against the campus center, forget the fading urban mission, forget the dimmed focus on the older student, and forget the XXX million its costing us. I hate the campus center, not because it is a symbol of UMass’s disregard for urban minorities, not because it’s overall goal is to attract a bunch of eighteen-year-olds who are also applying to Salve Regina, but because it is in my way. It’s in your way. Not only does it obstruct the once semi-scenic view from the highway with yet another hideous brick building, it seems to be taking up about 40,000 parking spots that my 1992 Chevy Lumina, along with a host of other commuter students’ cars, could easily be occupying.

I’ve left for school hours early, circled the UMB perimeter, even begged the campus policeman who so vigilantly guards the entrance to the lower level garage. You know, that campus policeman that doesn’t acknowledge, let alone believe, you when you point out the fact that there are empty spots in the lot behind Wheatley. He stares at you blankly and waves you by as if the phrase “Keep to the right” is the only one he knows. Now, ten minutes late for class you reluctantly make your way to the McCormack School or the Bayside Expo Center, where most parking passes are worth as much as a used text book. You pay $5 regardless of how long you stay there, trek through the slush-covered parking lot, carefully avoid loitering 10 year-olds, and finally, frost-bitten and bitter, board the shuttle bus.

This could’ve been avoided, or at least reduced. Money better spent would’ve built a new parking garage, one without mazes and perpetually unfinished construction, or with passages that you can actually maneuver a car through. Parking ought to be a priority for a university that is supposed to cater to the non-traditional commuting student who may need a vehicle at his or her disposal to rush to work after that 2:30 class or be home in time to grab the kids off the school bus. Instead we are greeted every morning by the crimson-lit sign; Upper Level CLOSED, Lower Level CLOSED. Maybe North Lot is open? No. It’s CLOSED. They are all closed, and there’s little you can do about it.

However, those students with an extra six or eight hundred dollars to shell out after paying tuition along with $25 to park for the week have the opportunity to purchase reserved spaces through Student Services. Sure, reward the kid driving daddy’s SUV and exile those of working two jobs to get in and out of the parking lot in our paint-chipped rust boxes. Access should not be for sale.

It’s hard not to feel somewhat alienated in the midst of all the changes beginning to take place at UMB. That monstrosity of a campus center is a symbol of the fact that the social well-being of the faceless future student body with better high school GPAs, higher SAT scores, bent on leaving home for the first time and wearing flip-flops in the shower, is held above that of the current student population. It’s only the beginning.

KRISTEN DeOLIVEIRA