ST. CLOUD -- Tensions ran high at St. Cloud State University's Annual Parking and Transportation public hearing. Nearly 100 students, employees and community members came out this (Thursday) afternoon to voice their opinions and ask questions about the new 24/7 parking regulations.

In an update to a story we brought you earlier this week, SCSU recently announced that evening and weekend parking on campus will no longer be free beginning mid summer.

Throughout the meeting public safety highlighted its two options for increasing revenue. The department could either increase parking permit rates or start charging those that park on campus in the evenings and on the weekends.

The department chose to charge for evening and weekend parking so they could equally disperse the financial responsibility instead of it falling on the permit holders.

Those who are coming to campus for events will have to pay for parking unless the student organization that is hosting the event would like to cover the cost.

Any student organization can purchase parking spaces through public safety prior to their event. All costs are negotiated through public safety, event parking rates are based on the time of day an organization needs parking, day of the week and how many hours they need the spaces. Parking space rates will range between .10 cents and $5.00.

The only campus events that will have free parking will be commencement ceremonies and move-in day. Other community events taking place on campus will not have free parking unless specified by public safety. For example, the Lemonade Arts and Craft Fair will function as always for parking.

Many students, employees and community members questioned the parking changes and felt funds could be raised or absorbed from other means.

Public Safety did highlight their expenses and financial plan during the hearing. Assistant Vice President for Safety and Risk Management Jesse Cashman says anyone who is using SCSU's parking lots needs to pay to use the lot to help maintain lot safety and improvements.

Third year sociology student and Miller Center employee Emily Herne reached her breaking point during the hearing, with tears of anger flooding her eyes she expressed her safety concerns. Herne says the parking changes limit access to the campus and make it less safe for those who can't afford campus parking and choose to use city parking.

"For the majority of students, community patrons and anyone who wants to access events or resources we are limiting access to them." --Herne

Students were not the only ones to speak their minds at the hearing, employees and campus organization leaders voiced their concerns.

KVSC's (St. Cloud State's college and community radio station) station manager Jo McMullen-Boyer says the parking changes will have an impact on station volunteers.

KVSC has multiple volunteers that host radio programs daily and produce other content for the station.

"I think the volunteer question and those who are doing community engagement is not quite addressed with this policy." --McMullen-Boyer

As for event parking McMullen-Boyer plans to work with public safety to cover the parking costs for any major campus events hosted by the station including their annual Trivia weekend.

The 24/7 parking changes will go into effect July 1.


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