By Campus News Editors
For nearly three years, parking on campus has been free for all students and it should remain free.
As a relief effort during the pandemic the East Los Angeles College’s administration decided to discontinue charging for parking permits.
This decision was made partly because classes moved online and also to remove the cost burden for those struggling financially. Students have been paying to park for decades.
Since the campus has reopened, there have been signs posted in the parking lots each semester announcing that parking is free.
According to the college’s website the last stated price for a regular parking permit during the fall and spring semesters was $20.
Regular parking permits gave students five options for parking: the Stadium Parking Lot, north and south Avalanche Ways and Lots A and B at the South Gate Campus. There was also an Associated Student Union Parking Permit that cost $27 for the fall and spring semesters.
These permits gave students eight options for parking, everything included in the Regular Parking Permit, Parking Structures three and four and the South Gate Main Lot.
In the past, the extra money collected for the ASU pass was used as seed money for clubs to help fund their activities.
The sheriff’s station is in charge of parking enforcement on campus. Students are only allowed to park in spaces that are unmarked.
The other spaces are reserved for faculty and staff. When last enforced, the punishment for parking without a permit was a $30 fine.
A $27 fee or a $30 fine may be a burden for some students.
Although the college offers alternative options, like the free TAP card program, public transportation can be unreliable.
When attendance affects your grade, driving your personal vehicle may ensure punctuality.
Continuing to offer free parking will remove a burden on students, giving them one less thing to worry about or pay for at school.
Another option is parking off campus but most of the college’s perimeter requires permits issued by the city and is only for residents.
This means the distance to free non-permit parking is greater.
The right to park on campus should not come at a price.
Students should not have to pay. Parking on campus should continue to be free indefinitely.