The Parking Situation


Some things never change, and just as it is today, parking was a major problem for campus police and for students in the 70s.  When asked to name the worst facilities on campus, two different commentors named the parking facilities the worst at the university (Terry).  Commuter students especially had difficulty finding places to park on campus.  The problem was made even worse by miscalculations in the number of parking permits given out, leading to far more cars having permits than there were spaces, and a large number of unregistered vehicles using spaces reserved for Madison students (Davidson).  One student points out that even the illegal parking spaces were full (Yancey).

This was an issue that caused a great deal of tension between students and police.  Many students felt that campus police officers did nothing all day but give out parking tickets, and that this meant they were ignoring other issues on campus.  At the same time, many felt that campus police should be working harder to fix the problem of unregistered cars parking in student spaces.

X lot full of cars

The crowded X parking lot.

According to Wilberger, campus police were lenient about parking at the beginning of the year in 1979 when the parking situation was at its worst, but there were still complaints.  Some students found it unfair that professors were allowed to park in other lots if the faculty lots were full.  Two students shared an experience with having to walk in the rain and miss a date because illegally parked cars were blocking the way to their dates’ dorm.  Although students seem to mostly place the blame on the administration for overcrowding, they still expect campus police to be able to fix the problem as it comes up.  They seem to want officers to give tickets or not give tickets based solely on how it affects them with little regard for others.

There was really only so much police could do about the parking problems on campus.  The overcrowding due to overselling of permits was not the fault of the campus police, and there was nothing they could do to lessen the problems this caused.  When it came to unregistered vehicles, they could only give tickets, and a ticket is not going to make the vehicle magically disappear.  Especially when, as one professor stated, students were willing to pay a two dollar parking fine to get to class on time (Dulan). Whoever’s fault the situation was, it did not seem to matter to some students, who felt that campus police were the ones to blame, no matter what the true cause of the problem.


Works Cited:

Davison, Mark. “Too Many Permits Cause Overcrowding in X Parking Lot,” The Breeze 9 September 1977, p.1.

Dulan, Tom. “Illegal Parking Causes Complaints,” The Breeze, 25 January 1977, p.10.

Terry, Zelda. “Campus Comments,” The Breeze 22 April 1977, p.8.

Yancey, Dwayne. “JMU Parking: ‘Lack of Convenient Spaces‘?” The Breeze 9 September 1977, p.2.