Editorial: A spectre is haunting Baylor: fake handicap signs

By Asher Freeman
By Asher Freeman


With more than the usual amount of parking being eliminated this year by construction, remodeling and a giant freshman class, we would be remiss if we neglected this ongoing rant in this week’s editorial schedule. In fact, on-campus parking problems have become a favorite subject of ours in board meetings, simply because the lack of improvement we have seen on this issue has brought the level of discontented grumblings among the student body up to full fledged battle royals in the parking garages — day and night.

It’s become quite entertaining, watching the drag races, name-calling, fender benders and various other near-death experiences ensue as students foolishly attempt to get to class on time from the Dutton Parking Garage. One can almost hear the universe elicit a condescending chuckle as a few drivers cruise the bottom floor, obviously thinking they are going to get a spot five minutes before class. Those poor, naïve fools…

But wait. What’s this? A monster suburban seems to be parked in one of the handicapped spots conveniently placed right by the elevators. The person getting out of said vehicle seems to be perfectly healthy, fully formed and in full command of all mental faculties. In fact, they seem to display a rare amount of cunning as they pull out a handicap parking permit, slap it on the rearview mirror and walk away unscathed by guilt and unpunished by the unsuspecting parking authorities.

On Jan. 16 and 17, 2010, Baylor Police issued nine citations to people they caught illegally using handicap tags to park close to the Ferrell Center during the basketball games. The people were fined $150. In a past issue of the Lariat, Bethany Moore reported that complaints from those who needed the spots and the increased evidence of the misused handicap tags had resulted in random stings by the Baylor Police for the previous five years. These crackdowns seem to have slowed recently in the parking garages around campus.

Rage is the only word that can describe how we feel about such subterfuge. We, of all people, know the talent and skill it takes to park on campus without getting a ticket (especially if you don’t have a parking permit). We know that there are more worthy things to spend our $300 on instead of funneling it into an unreliable and highly overcrowded system.

We at the Lariat have perfected the art of foiling the parking system simply because of our late hours and our proximity to the Dutton Parking Garage.

Not only is it rude and ethically immoral, it’s downright expensive. The Lariat reported that if the Baylor Police decided to report a misused hang tag to the Waco Police Department, it could result in a $510 fine and $500- $700 fine for the person who lent or sold the hang tag. Parking for selfish convenience isn’t worth that much at all, even on the worst mornings.

But it takes a special kind of gall to use a fake handicap parking permit to circumvent the parking problems that abound on campus. Not only is it illegal, selfish and irresponsible to those that actually need those spots, it is devious and unforgivable to those of us who find our parking spots the honorable way — staring your enemy in the face and parking to the death, if need be.

What happened to integrity, dignity and honor among our student comrades? No doubt, there are many students who have been getting away with this despicable farce for quite some time.

Well, it’s time for this outrage to stop. We now call for another crackdown on this type of behavior on campus (and more frequently) from the Baylor Police Department and the Parking Services.

Admittedly the Ferrell Center and Floyd Casey Stadium are good areas to focus on during the games, but we ask that the police remain attentive to the parking garages as well.

We call for some respect amongst those who take the easy, yet most disreputable way out of this mire we call the Baylor parking system. We call for an equal footing on these battlegrounds. We few, we happy few, leave the safety of our apartments behind and go to battle everyday, and we come back with our heads held high, knowing we fought a good fight. We implore the perpetrators of this heinous crime to cease and desist so that they can feel the same pride in a hard-won victory every time the perfect parking spot is found.

If the question of honor does not appeal to reason, then think of the money at risk. At least be practical.