Illustration by Amy Czachowski

Parking on campus has been a rising issue over the years.

Students and faculty alike have felt the frustration to find a parking spot near a building where an important meeting or class will take place.

When met with unified concerns from students and staff, the university has tackled this issue with new parking structures and housing lots. The efforts to accommodate nearly 21,000 people who proudly call NAU their college of choice have fallen short once more as paid parking permits are considered useless on certain dates.

After a freshman and sophomore year filled with parking tickets, I finally gave in to the practical side of my brain. I realized I was paying more in parking violation tickets than I would pay if I just bought a permit and had a permanent spot on campus.

So, I entered my debit card information into the University Transit Service’s website Aug. 1 and charged my LOUIE account with $465 for an annual parking permit that would allow me to park year-round in the south commuter lot.

Along with the hundreds of other students who waited in the virtual queue to get a permit, I let out a breath of relief. No more parking tickets for me — I rightfully had a spot on campus to call my own, and the receipt to show for it.

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later a mass email was sent out to parking permit holders, which explained that Aug. 28 at 5 p.m., parking at the south commuter lot would be limited due to the football game that night.

Other than the grammatical errors, the most frustrating part of that email was the nonchalant dismissal of the inconvenience students would be slapped with in the first week of school.

“Students with a South Commuter permit are advised not to drive to campus … use the Mountain Line Route 10, carpool, walk, bike, or use a ride service,” the email stated.

With traditional transactional values holding true, it should be a given that if a student pays for a parking permit, they should be able to park in the designated area.

I have played and watched sports my whole life, so sacrificing a day of my parking rights in order to support the NAU football team is not the biggest obstacle I have faced. However, not every student parking in south commuter shares my same passion for sports.

Why is it that their $400+ permit is thrown aside for an event that they may not attend or might not care about?

They could walk from an unknown distance or use a $5 ride-sharing voucher to get to an institution that they have already paid access to with thousands in tuition.

Has anyone actually ever taken a ride-sharing service to a destination and had the final price be under $5?

I certainly have not. It is unfair to take away the use of a permit that a student has paid for and require them to pay, physically or monetarily, to get where their permit would have taken them.

NAU should value their students’ purchases and not rob them of their permitted parking over a football game, which is an event that does not threaten the safety or well-being of the students in the area — well, except for the football players maybe.