High costs, low security

Outrageous parking expenses on campus for unsecured and unsafe parking

Olivia Stewart, Staff Writer

Some Ashton Hall residents opt for reserved spots close to the dorm and purchase parking permits. (Emma Najarian)

I received a call on Friday, Sept. 17th from the Office of Safety and Security concerning an issue with my car. I was parked in the Ashton lot where there is open access to all the cars and security is limited. I was told that the catalytic converter attached was stolen and security was not able to respond in time to catch the thief. School had only been in session one week and there were already issues concerning theft on campus.

My car was not the only one. An email had been sent out two days previously warning students about a man that had already broken into a science lab near campus. Then, about a week later, another email was sent out in response to the multiple car part thefts that had occurred. While the emails warned students to report anything suspicious, they seemed useless in actually solving the issue at hand.

When I went to file a report, the security officer told me there was not much else they could do for me other than to go online and file a police report. When I asked him how often this has happened before, he was very vague about the whole situation and was unable to help me further.

The school does not claim liability for any damage caused to vehicles on their property. It became my responsibility to fix the damage to my car, pay for it and then continue to park in the exact same spot as if nothing ever happened.

I do not believe that we should be paying as much as we are for the location and lack of security in the outdoor parking lots around campus.

It costs $645 ($215 per quarter) a year for students to park their cars in the Ashton parking lot. It costs $675 ($225 per quarter) for students parked in the Arnett and Emerson parking garages. Considering that there is no guaranteed safety for the cars parked out in the open lots, the outside parking should be cheaper. However, there is only a $30 dollar difference; nothing compared to the price paid to fix the unprotected cars that were damaged.

Yes, we live in Seattle. Yes, we live in an area where crime rates have been going up and it isn’t always the safest place. In fact, according to the Seattle Police Department as of September 2021, there have been 3,658 motor vehicle thefts. Nothing is ever guaranteed in life, but our campus has security for a reason. We live at a private Christian college where we pay money to go to school and live on campus.

After the car parts were stolen, SPU should have upped their security game. It seems that they did not. Going forward, they should be making it their priority to ensure the safety of the students and their property, and find a better way to secure their parking lots (a gate, more security, etc…). The school should also consider lowering the parking costs, especially for the open lots by Ashton and Hill Hall.

Some Hill Hall residents also opt for reserved parking spots close to the dorm and purchase parking permits. (Emma Najarian)

We as a student body have a voice. If enough people speak out, we can bring attention to the unfair policies and expensive parking fees. We deserve to be heard, especially in an environment that encourages its students to be opinionated and speak up about things that matter to them. We can make a difference, and make it possible that future cars stay safe on our school’s campus.