Marist Implements Priority Point Parking System


By Brian Edsall


Parking has been a persistent problem for Marist College. Now, administration has implemented a solution to the college’s dilemma - priority points.

Parking spaces will be allocated based on priority points. Only students with points ranging from 31-34 will be granted a parking space. Rising sophomores will have to have 23-26 points, according to their 26 point maximum.

Students below this point range will be required to find legal parking spaces off campus.

“Marist College is an extremely competitive institution - as of 2016 our acceptance rate was around 40 percent,” said Marist College President David Yellen. “We thrive off of makes sense that only about 40 percent of students can successfully find a parking space at any given time.”

“Only the most dedicated and determined students are currently able to find parking, as they arrive hours before class to simply find a spot,” Yellen added. “We believe these students naturally have higher priority points, so the transition should be smooth.”

Priority points can be earned and lost from four categories - GPA, Room Condition, Discipline History and Campus Involvement.

Students have displayed mixed reactions to this new system. Many students have had negative past experiences with priority points in regards to housing.

“My friends basically abandoned me when I didn’t have over 30 priority points last year. I went into the housing process alone,” said junior Michael Erickson. “They only kept me around because I have a car. Now they have no reason to associate with me anymore.”

Some students remain indifferent, stating this will not change the daily problems faced with parking.

“I refuse to commit all of my time to clubs and community service just to get a parking space on campus,” said junior Allison Jones. “It takes me about 30 minutes to find a parking space as it is. It would take me about the same amount of time parking off campus and walking. Honestly, that would probably be even be faster.”

Parking for off-campus students has been especially difficult. Cars can be spotted in the McCann lot parked vertically on the dirt hills behind Sheahan. Additionally, in a survey produced by the Marist Circle, it was found that students burn about one fifth of their gas tanks while circling around the Beck lot - equally roughly $7 in wasted gas.

This new system could present a challenge for these off-campus students, many of whom discontinue involvement on campus because they no longer need priority points for housing.

“One of the main reasons I moved off campus sophomore year was so that I didn’t have to worry about priority points,” said junior Anthony Smith. “My last priority point update said I had 10 points.”

“Moving off campus meant that I could save money on housing while also allowing myself more time to focus on working. I’m trying to help my parents pay for my college tuition,” added Smith. “I’ve been making about $300 a week. Now I’ll have to quit my job. Maybe I’ll rejoin the Odyssey - I can list this as one of the five reasons why I’ll graduate from college with massive student loans.”

A Resident Director, who wishes to remain unnamed, is aware of student concerns but fully supports the priority point system and believes it will greatly relieve tensions related to parking on campus.

“The fact of the matter is, if you’re not a student who has above a 3.6 GPA, is involved in campus clubs, keeps your dormitory spotless, never gets in trouble and dedicates time to community service, you will be shunned here at Marist,” said the Resident Director. “Students who don’t live up to these expectations should feel sorry for themselves. They deserve a longer walk. Maybe that will give them more time to reevaluate their lives.”

Senior Debbie Warowitz is fully supportive of the new system as well, believing that it will remind students to focus on the “truly important aspects of college.”

“My freshman year roommate was my best friend. That is, until I found out she had 20 priority points. That’s not the type of person I want to be associated with,” said Warowitz. “Students shouldn’t be rewarded for being lazy - in fact, they should be punished. This new system will do just that.”

“I have maintained a 4.0 GPA through my four years here, and I have dedicated hundreds of hours to my clubs and community service,” she added. “I’ve maintained perfect priority points all throughout college. In fact I put that on my resume - that’s the type of thing employers are looking for. Did I mention I have a 4.0 GPA?”

John Blaisdell, Director of Safety and Security, has notified students that parking tickets will be increased from $25 to $50 to deter students from violating this new policy.

“I honestly don’t know how I could pay for $50 tickets,” said Erickson. “I have $2.76 currently in my bank account. You definitely won’t find me parked anywhere near campus.”

In addition to this new policy, 50 parking spaces between McCann and Beck will be reserved for golf carts. The spots will allow more golf carts to drive freely around campus while students are walking to and from class.

The policy is expected to be implemented beginning in the fall 2018 semester.

Brian Edsall