A controversial bill that would have recommended Clemson add reserved parking spaces in residential lots did not pass the vote on the CUSG Senate floor Monday night.
The bill, Senate Recommendation No. 3, was an attempt to alleviate some of the pressures that Clemson's parking woes have had on residential students, according to one of the bill's authors, Senator Finney.
However, many senators argued that the bill both lacked the support of students and would create division between those able to afford reserved spots and those who are not.
“This is an empty gesture at best and an act of classism at worst,” said Senator Adams of the bill. “We may be permanently damaging our relationship with the student body if this legislation goes any further.”
The authors of the bill — Senators Finney, Chiarovano, Levin, Timberlake and Norris — conducted a survey of students on campus to determine whether there was support. The survey was said to include students from all types of housing and backgrounds, including residential assistants.
"I represent my constituents here on campus. And I've gotten a lot of their support from it," said Senator Finney. "Everyone wants to do things on campus — parking garages and whatnot — but nobody wants to spend the money on it."
Senator Stacy spoke in support of the bill, dismissing the point that it would create an elitist status among students. He explained that it’s “capitalistic” in the same sense that some housing on campus is more expensive than others. “Some people can pay more. If they want to live in Douthit, they have that option,” said Stacy.
Citing data from Parking and Transportation Services, Senator Newell provided the ratios of residential parking permits sold to spaces available on-campus. West residents have a ratio of 1.09 and east-campus 1.03 – meaning that for every 1,000 residential parking spaces, there were 1,090 permits sold for west residents.
Newell argued that the bill will only make parking for residents worse, given parking services has already sold more permits than spaces.
The Tiger reached out to Dan Hofmann, director of Parking and Transportation Services, for additional information about the data.
“These are historical ratios that are validated each year with utilization surveys and there has been and always is enough available parking assigned to all resident students,” said Hofmann regarding the intentional overselling of permits. “Historically, not all resident students who buy a permit may necessarily bring a car right away and for unknown reasons not all residents are on campus at the same time and may be parking elsewhere.”
Senator Finney rebutted Newell in saying that it would not reduce the total number of spaces, since students who park in reserved spaces would also not park in the first-come-first-serve spaces.
In a roll call vote, the bill did not gain the simple majority required to pass. A number of senators abstained from voting, while a handful voted in support of the bill.
Chris Miller, vice president and dean of students, was in attendance as the advisor of CUSG Senate. He offered some remarks at the end, recognizing the senators for offering their perspective in the heated debate. "It takes an awful lot of courage to stand up before your peers," said Miller.
Senator Finney, chair of the Transportation & Facilities committee, expressed hope for the year ahead and remains excited to serve the student body.
Clemson University Student Government Senate meets on Monday nights at 7 p.m. in the Student Senate Chambers.