SMU Faculty Senate examines parking improvements while students feel ignored.

The Faculty Senate met last month and announced the formation and meeting of the new Senate Parking Committee, which will hear the concerns of faculty members who said they cannot park on campus due to a lack of assignments from parking services.

While the committee looks for answers for faculty, more needs to be done to improve student parking, SMU junior Sarah Kachelhofer said.

“Students are constantly overlooked when it comes to parking at SMU,” she said. “Faculty does not need more parking.”

A new parking policy implemented this fall includes delegating parking for faculty and students who cannot find parking places on campus to the east side of Central Expressway, which many students find unsafe.

Concerns were heightened recently when a female student was unlawfully restrained after accepting a ride to campus from SMU Boulevard, east of Central Expressway. SMU Police have arrested an unidentified man in connection with that case, officials said.

The incident only shows the danger of not making parking affordable and safe, Kachelhofer said. Not letting commuters park at Airline Garage was the biggest mistake SMU made, she said.

“I shouldn’t have to walk across the highway just to get to class, especially when there are parking spots that are only unavailable because I’m a commuter,” she said.

The changes were necessary to deal with an increasing need for parking, officials with SMU Parking Services have said. Only faculty with offices in the Expressway Towers have to park on the east side of Interstate 75, officials with SMU Parking Services have said. However, students have said the assignments go beyond that and many faculty have complained about changes at previous Faculty Senate meetings.

The recent reallocation of parking garages and lots has confused students.

Students are frequently ticketed by parking services. Students said they feel discouraged from going to class or are consistently late due to parking issues. This sentiment coincides with the building of SMU’s newest graduate studies building, which eliminated a commuter parking lot and transferred the rest of its spots to faculty parking.

“The committee has begun to meet and is in the process of soliciting and collecting information about remaining parking concerns,” said Lackland Bloom, the new committee chair.