Letter to the editor: SGA president addresses parking problem

Heath Barton
SGA President
Troy University has faced a problem for the past few years, one which has affected not only students, but also faculty and staff as well. This issue is one that deals with the amount of parking that is available on campus and the inability to find a parking spot by all Trojans. On behalf of the Student Government Association and the student body, I would like to inform everyone that this is an issue that I see and am working diligently to find any solutions to resolve this unquestionable issue.
Some of the resolutions and first steps that we as an SGA have begun to work on is informing our fellow students of ways that they can aid in parking themselves. Parking lots are located all around our campus and full utilization of these lots is something that we are encouraging.
Granted, at this time the athletics department is using the McKinnley parking lot for an event that will end this week. We still encourage you, as students, to park there. After this week we are hoping to have full use of not only that lot, but also the parking lot behind Hawkins Hall.
While a shuttle was promised to be at the McKinnley lot to bus students to the quad, there has been a miscommunication of how often it runs. The shuttle will pick up students at the lot every 15-20 minutes and then pick up students at Smith Hall to take them back to the McKinnley lot. If you do face a problem with the shuttle system, please get into contact with Student Services on our campus, and they will help you with the shuttle.
Another way that our SGA is focusing on this issue is our semester night walk on September 22. We will be looking for any open areas where there could potentially be a parking lot. After compiling a list of areas around campus, we hope to present the possibilities to the administration and take further action following soon after.
An area that I would like to personally address is assuring that all students are handling this issue the right way. After seeing many posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I have been very discouraged as to the way our students are handling this. I do realize that this is an issue, but there is a difference in commenting negatively about our campus and commenting in some way that we as an SGA can use as a backer to present the issue to administration.
Our university’s faculty and staff have made this university one of the best to attend in the Southeast and I myself have made this place home. As students we should be honored to have the ability to get an education and do so in a way that shows we are not only the best but also that we love our school. Our passion for Troy should surpass some of the crude comments that have been made about this institution. Every university has issues – ours is currently parking.
Per an article that was put in the Tropolitan newspaper earlier this week, there was a comment that I called students “lazy” during an interview. With that, I would like to assure that I did not mean our students are putting aside the fact that they can walk and are purposely not due to whatever reason. I do not see myself and other students as lazy in that type of context, but when there is a temperature outside that is fairly high or there is a downpour during the day, they do not want to walk, which is understandable.
I am here to assure you that all students have faced this issue. Through this statement, our SGA wants to promise that we are the biggest advocates for this issue to be resolved.
With the temperature and weather that we have been having lately, it is understandable why students do not want to walk all the way from McKinnley lot to the academic building on campus. But something that I want to reiterate is this: our SGA is doing all that we can to resolve this issue for the time being, but walking may be the best option. I understand personally the pain of receiving a ticket, as I received one myself this past week, but handling this problem in the right way is how we as students will receive progress.
In closing I would like to say this, we as students must not be simply be reactive but proactive. If we want to see change we must offer viable and feasible ideas, conduct research on these ideas, gain a sense of oneness in our ideas and take action towards the idea. If you would like to attend our SGA meetings, we highly encourage you all to come. We meet every Tuesday in Hawkins Hall 122 at 6:30 and would love to hear your ideas and gain your support on being proactive!

Editor’s Note: In an interview for the article “Parking mayhem upsets Trojans,” SGA president Heath Barton mentioned “lazy” as one possible reasons for neglected parking lots on campus. The following is a direct quote, and its context, that the reporter recorded:

Willis: Do you believe that it is going to get better as the semester goes on with parking? Do you believe that the issue will get better?

Barton: I definitely think that. Myself and Dean Reeves, who just met with us, and have actually been working on a letter will be going out to all users which is the entire student body and faculty. This letter is essentially a way of informing everyone that got a ticket for two reasons to bring to the SGA office to be appealed, as well as encouraging students to make sure that we use all parking lots on campus. There have been a couple parking lots that have been avoided and neglected, and students aren’t using them because either they are too lazy or they just don’t want to park that far away from class.

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