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So make us pay more

By Dan Cassino
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 4, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dan Cassino

Once again, the university is seriously behind the learning curve Monday, the city of Tucson began enforcement of its new permit laws. The city has realized what a great boon higher permit prices is to everyone, especially those who need to use the University of Arizona campus.

Generally, I'm against university regulation of anything. But this is one case where the potential benefit of the students far outweighs the bigger government we would receive. If the university would follow the city and more aggressively pursue its resources, we would all benefit.

Here's the plan. The university will introduce a parking permit system similar to that of the city. Better still, make the permits more expensive, and the fines greater. Hopefully, the city will follow suit and raise prices to match.

Some of you might not think that more expensive is better, but keep in mind the main idea: to keep students out of these spaces.

First among the benefits of this plan is the power it gives the university to regulate who gets the spaces. There are a lot of undesirables on campus: Communists, moonies, cartoonists - whatever. We will keep them away from campus without having to explain the why to anyone.

Of course, many are going to stick around campus anyway, so the least we can do is make it uncomfortable for them.

As long as we're at it, we can use the current situation with campus housing to keep these agitators from living here. They don't like us, so why should we be nice to them. Once we get rid of these undesirables, the campus will be a much more pleasant environment for everyone.

As always, we must concern ourselves with the alumni. These are the best of the people affiliated with the university. To get money from students, the university has to provide professors, classes, bookstores and labs. Faculty and staff actually take money away from the university. Alumni just want good tickets for sporting events and a polite phone call reminding them that it's time to give.

If the plan included provisions to give preference to alumni, they would have an open space to park if they decide to visit. They'll give more, and everyone will be happy. The least we can do is provide them with preferred parking spaces. There will always be students to give to the university, but if we annoy the alumni, we could lose them entirely.

A common counterargument is that students will end up paying anyway. This too, is a good thing. The students that will be able to afford a parking spot will be those that have significant amounts of disposable income. Both the university and the city know how to spend this disposable income better than the students. The university needs money for child care and the international campus and Johnnie Cochran, while students inevitably spend their money on crack cocaine and South Park merchandise.

These reasons, however, may all seem selfish. However, there is at least one aspect of the plan will unquestionably benefit all.

Assigned parking spaces are a real boon for the environment. Students are always spewing carbon dioxide and running over small, cute mammals. If these students knew that there were no spots out there, this would be entirely avoided. For years, we've been suggesting that students take the bus or the tram; now we actually have the power to force them to do so.

We are all members of the university community. Whether we like it or not, it is our duty to support not what may be best for us as individuals, but what is best for the community. If we all work together, we can all reap the benefits.

Dan Cassino is a political science sophomore. His commentary appears every Thursday. Dan Cassino can be reached at