Student Court offers second avenue for parking appeals

Vehicles from Baylor Parking and Transportation Services patrol campus Monday through Friday for parking violations. Once a ticket is issued, an individual can choose to appeal the citation to parking services and if rejected, to Baylor's Student Court. Lariat File Photo

By Didi Martinez | Digital Managing Editor

It’s an email that no student at Baylor wants to receive. The sender? Baylor Parking and Transportation Services.

Every Monday through Friday, Baylor Parking and Transportation services drives around campus looking to enforce parking regulations and to the dismay of some, issues tickets. And while individuals have the option to dispute the charges to parking services, the first attempt does not always lead to a drop in charges.

That’s where Baylor’s Student Court comes in.

“Typically, what we get is that they [appellee] feel the citation is invalid,” said Baylor Student Court deputy chief justice and Dallas junior Jon Abel. “If parking services decided to not grant the citation, at that point we’ll read the citation and debate it among ourselves.”

With an appeal statement and ticket from parking services, students can challenge their rejected citation in person or via email to the Student Court who will then make a decision based on a variety of circumstances. This, according to chief justice Tyler Rutherford, is where the Court can dismiss, uphold or even reduce the fines issued by parking services by as much as 50 percent.

“Financial need. It is something that we look at and consider,” said the Marble Falls junior. “We usually only do that when a student points to a financial hardship or they honestly had no idea what they were doing.”

Rutherford estimates that the Court has ruled in over 50 parking-related cases this school year, with roughly 40 percent ending in a dismissal of the charges. But Rutherford said this doesn’t mean all matters slide because they were brought before the Court. Especially ones which the justices feel have been clearly articulated on Baylor’s Parking and Transportation website.

“For me and quite a few justices, it’s parking in handicapped spots and it’s just something you don’t play around with,” Rutherford said. “[It’s] one of the big situations that we don’t show a lot of lenience.”

One issue that has become a common appeal among students are abuses of visitor parking, according to Abel and Rutherford.

“Students are not allowed to park in a visitor spot under no circumstances,” Abel said. “Even if you don’t have a parking pass and you figure to yourself ‘Oh, I’m just visiting a campus.’ You will be fined for it. It happens fairly often.”

But the $35 fine pales in comparison to $300 some students will have to pay for signing up for a visitor account in order to gain parking access, the latter of which would be considered a “misuse of permission.”

“This semester we saw an uptick in people signing up for visitor accounts,” Rutherford said. “You’re not allowed to create a visitor account and this semester, we saw several cases where student have done that.”

As for whether appealing to the Court will increase an individual’s chances of getting their ticket suspended, Abel said it is all a matter of circumstance and the Court.

“The Court can never guarantee that appealing to the Court is a guaranteed overturn, but I think it’s good for students to know that they have an open avenue,” Abel said.