According to the Bowdoin Web site, the average Bowdoin student can expect to spend $350 for travel, $400 for fees, and $800 for books each year. An extra $825 to cover parking tickets is not listed, though it will be on sophomore Jane Pierce's bill.
This year, the Office of Safety and Security has issued approximately 1,100 tickets and warnings for parking violations to students, faculty, and staff—though the vast majority have gone to students, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. Pierce, who Nichols referred to as "the top scofflaw," chose to identify herself to the Orient. Nichols said that "nobody else comes close" to Pierce's 24 tickets—though a total of 25 students have amassed at least six tickets this year.
"Some students don't take our parking regulations very seriously, they think there are no consequences," Nichols said. "The fact is, it may take us a while, but we'll eventually get around to you."
Nichols said that parking management is "one of the least satisfying aspects of my job because it is not often directly linked to safety and security."
Pierce, whose car is registered for the Farley Field House lot, said she received most of her tickets for parking in the Chamberlain lot. Pierce used to leave old tickets on the windshield to try to trick security officers out of issuing a new ticket.
"This worked for a while, then eventually they caught on," she said.
"There was just always [a ticket] there, and then they started piling up," she said. "I didn't know that I was getting more until I got a notice that I had to go see the dean."
According to Nichols, the 25 students with six or more tickets received letters from their deans a couple of weeks ago, informing them that their driving privileges on campus could be revoked. Nichols added that none of the parking violators has actually had privileges taken away.
In most cases, the first three tickets issued to a violator are for $25 and subsequent tickets are for $50. If a student or faculty or staff member does not pay a ticket, the violator is billed through the bursars office. For students, this usually means that the expense is added to a bill that is sent home to parents.
"I tried to tell my parents it just happens to everybody," said Emily Neilson '11, who owes $545 for nine tickets this year.
Neilson also told her parents that parking fines are the means by which security is funded, but in fact, the Office of Safety and Security won't see any of the $28,000 it issued in parking fees this year. Nichols said that the money goes back to general College funds.
Neilson, whose designated lot is at Farley Field House, has gotten most of her tickets from parking in other lots around campus. The orange sticker on her bumper makes it obvious when she is parked in the wrong place.
"I wish I had never registered my car, biggest mistake ever," Neilson said, though Nichols emphasized that car registration is a requirement for students, faculty, and staff who park on campus.
Though 642 students paid the $40 fee in order to register their vehicles this year, Nichols said that there is a small number who did not.
Because visitors to campus may park almost anywhere, it may be tempting for a student not to register his or her car in order to appear as a visitor. Nichols said that such students can fly under the radar—but not for long.
"What normally happens with an unregistered vehicle is it may take us a while, but we'll eventually figure out that it's a student vehicle," Nichols said.
One female sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous because her mother is not aware of her $200 in parking fines, explained why she did not think the current fee system was effective in changing behavior.
"They don't really follow up, so there's no incentive to pay it," she said. "It's just put on your bill, you never really have to deal with it."
Asked if she was planning to tell her mother, she said, "I'm personally hoping it will just get lost in the shuffle."
On the other hand, Stephen Sullivan '11, who has been issued 10 tickets this year, said he thinks students are more likely to change behavior if their parents are billed than if students have to pay the fine themselves.
"If your parents find out, then you're going to get in a lot more trouble than if they never know about it," Sullivan said.
For those who believe that they were unfairly given a ticket, the Office of Safety and Security has an appeals process, which usually results in the dismissal or reduction of the charge. Those seeking an appeal can fill out an online form within 14 days of receiving the ticket and hear back, sometimes within a few days, whether or not their ticket has been reduced to a warning or entirely dismissed.
Starting next year, first-year students will no longer be allowed to bring cars to campus, a change which Nichols said will probably reduce the number of cars on campus by more than 80. There will also be additional parking spaces available at Watson Arena and in the lot where Dayton Arena now stands.
"So the parking situation is improving quite a bit," Nichols said.