For Students dealing with the challenges of college, getting a ticket on campus only adds to the stress. Knowing why fines are issued can help students avoid a citation.
Campus police issue most citations for students who park in faculty lots. The fine for parking in faculty lots is $25.
Students may park in faculty lots after 5 p.m. with the following exception: The first two rows of the covered lot underneath Pirtle Technology building, the lot in front of Potter Hall and the executive parking area behind White’s Administration Building.
“Students who have a valid handicapped tag are allowed to park in faculty lots but never in spaces that are reserved for individuals,” TJC Police Chief Randy Melton said. “The fine for doing so is $50.”
Any fine received must be paid or have a written appeal filed within 10 days of receiving the fine.
Four violations in a semester, or if parking on a lawn, sidewalk, or in a reserved area can also result in removal of the vehicle at the owner’s expense.
While no arrests can be made for campus fines, not paying them will result in a hold on transcripts and signing up for new classes. Students with unpaid fines will also not be allowed to graduate until the fines are paid.
Some students don’t see the harm of parking in a faculty lot when student parking lots are full.
“Faculty and staff do not occupy all the space afforded to them, so why should a student be fined for parking at a free space that nobody is using,” said Urbano Lino, a 23-year-old criminal justice major from Tyler. “I’m sure a lot of students would agree with me on this.”
Melton said there are no excuses for parking in a faculty lot.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the excuse ‘I didn’t want to be late for class’ and that’s just not a good excuse,” Melton said.
He advises students to come early enough to deal with parking issues.
“If a close parking space isn’t available then give yourself time to get to class,” he said.
Melton, who previously served 21 years on the Tyler Police Department, said campus police have same job to enforce the law as any other police officer. They are also able to issue city of Tyler citations.
“Campus Police issue the most citations during the first weeks of a new semester, especially during the fall semester when there are many new students on campus,” Melton said.
The types of situations which can result in a citation are covered in Freshman Orientation and are available on the TJC website.
Parking violations are not the only ways to receive a fine on campus. Dorm residents also can receive fines for violating guidelines. A list of these fines is given to residents upon moving in.
Aukse Harris, assistant director of Residential Life and Housing, said that students can receive fines for clogging toilets by flushing inappropriate objects.
She said dorm residents have flushed all kinds of things: cotton swabs, plastic forks and even tuna can lids.
When it comes to trying to use the toilet as a trash disposal, “Common sense isn’t so common,” she said.
Residents of TJC’s nine dormitories can also receive a fine for damaging dorm furniture, moving out and not returning furniture to its original positions, not keeping themselves and common areas clean and having to be let into the dorm after it is locked down for the night.
The fines range from $30 to $200 depending on the situation.
Harris said students also can be fined for acts of vandalism – especially vandalism that occurs in common areas within the dorms.
Police and staff use video cameras to monitor areas where vending machines and microwave ovens are used but cameras don’t catch everything.
“I replace a lot of microwaves (that are tampered with), and I don’t buy the cheap ones,” Harris said. “They cost around $200.”
She also said that when a culprit cannot be identified, Residential Life and Housing must cover the cost of replacing a microwave oven in a dorm.
In the case where a resident tampers with fire and smoke alarms, the fire marshal may issue a citation as well.
“It’s against federal law to tamper with a fire alarm,” Harris said.