As students and faculty members have probably noticed, Lawrence parking lot has been blocked off since the beginning of the Fall semester, cutting off once-available parking spots. Ensuing parking issues have come to a head because West Chester University has accepted more students, but has not created more parking spots. Parking has been an ongoing, complicated problem for both the campus and the Borough of West Chester. The result amongst students and faculty members has been frustration despite a concerted effort by University President Fiorentino. When asked about the university president’s involvement with the issue, the faculty union head for APSCUF, Mark Rimple stated, “[Fiorentino] is trying to fix something that no one has been able to fix forever…We should give him credit for attempting to solve the issue.”
Rimple, the faculty union head for APSCUF and music professor at West Chester University, interviewed with The Quad via phone to deliver his stance on the parking situation. As the faculty union head for APSCUF, Rimple negotiates on behalf of faculty members for services and benefits including parking. “A good negotiation has to result in better services for everybody,” he commented, aware of problems commuting students experienced. APSCUF does not bargain on behalf of West Chester students, but Rimple stated the faculty union advocated for the needs of students. “We’re sensitive about what student parking is like. We don’t want to make it worse for the students overall. There should be a solution that serves all.”
Rimple acknowledged he knew of other faculty members who sometimes arrived late to classes due to prolonged parking searches. “Some faculty are aging and have difficulty getting around,” he stated with sympathetic tones. Rimple himself usually finds parking after a bit of searching. “I’ve had trouble parking depending on the time of the day. By 10:00 a.m. the Swope and Matlack garages are pretty full.”
Rimple’s parting words to the student bodies are as follows: “Everyone is feeling [frustration], so try not to take it out on your car or the pedestrians. I was terrified of the driving the first week of school. One false move and someone dies. Is it worth it for a parking spot? Any faculty member is going to understand parking is the issue.” Rimple advises students to make professors aware if lateness comes as a result of parking difficulties. “We’re all trying to do our best. We will be understanding, I believe.”
West Chester University student Celine Butler expressed parking-related worries and struggles even after the first week of school passed. “I saw people driving around and constantly circling. It seemed kind of dangerous, because there would be a line of cars with people trying to find spots, but then we would encounter a no exit zone and all have to turn around one by one.” Until a more permanent solution is found, Rimple advises taking advantage of recent services, such as the Uptown Loop and RideShare.
Doménica Castro is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in Spanish. DC874612@wcupa.edu.