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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Editorial: Students’ needs should come before sports fans

    For most college students, campus life doesn’t stop on the weekend, whether you’re at the library cramming for Monday’s final, pulling an all-nighter in the computer lab or just spending a lazy Saturday afternoon in your dorm room.

    There’s just one problem: many UA students can’t do any of these things without a parking space.

    Come the weekend, many students are finding that the parking spaces they thought they’d already paid for have been commandeered by the public. It isn’t unknown for Parking and Transportation Services to tow cars out of the parking garages to make room for game goers.

    Speaking of those garages, some of them are charging exorbitant fees. Before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, we noticed that the Sixth Street Parking Garage was charging $10 to park. We don’t know how many Wildcat fans wanted to park nine hours before the game even began, but we feel sorry for any students who couldn’t find any other viable parking options.

    PTS isn’t to blame for this. As the Wildcat reported today, the Athletic Department calls the shots on game days, and PTS is obligated to enforce the rules. They also give fair warning in the lots and garages long before game days.

    Nor are they to blame for this year’s increased parking prices. They don’t control the rising cost of gas any more than you do.

    Indeed, PTS deserves credit for attempting to alleviate the problem by working to provide free parking for groups and other alternatives for displaced students.

    Unfortunately, the trend can only have a bad effect on student morale. It’s hard to cheer on the Wildcats if you’re wondering in the back of your mind whether your car’s going to be there when you get back.

    For that matter, it’s hard to feel proud that you’re a Wildcat yourself if you’re constantly reminded that your early-morning study session isn’t as important as making room for game goers.

    President Robert Shelton has called for the UA to re-examine its priorities. We suggest that the time has come for UA leaders to re-examine their most fundamental priority of all: should anything come before the needs of students?

    On Nov. 15 last year, despite Shelton’s promise that a highly-anticipated game against Oregon wouldn’t interfere with ordinary campus business, a host of parking lot shutdowns led to the cancellation of many classes.

    At that time, one angry student complained to the Wildcat: “”I didn’t go to college to be a football fan. I came here to be a student.””

    He was right.

    The UA is a respectable university, renowned for its academic accomplishments. It doesn’t exist for the sake of its sporting events, even if we do follow the games as closely as anyone. It exists for the sake of education and research. That ought to be its first priority, always.

    Now that Shelton’s decided to tackle the budget issue, why not look into providing a permanent area for non-student parking on game days, instead of displacing students who’ve already paid for those spaces? Why not rent an off-campus area for game days?

    If the university intends to accommodate every single sports fan, as well as its growing student population, the 13,000 parking spaces on campus aren’t going to suffice. If there isn’t room for any more lots on campus, the administration might consider buying up more in the surrounding area and providing transportation.

    There needn’t be any bad feelings between UA students and loyal sports fans. But as they used to say in Westerns, the campus just isn’t big enough for the two of them.

    – Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Andi Berlin, Justyn Dillingham, Lauren

    LePage, Lance Madden and Nick Seibel.

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