MRU increases parking fees, fines; students petition against changes
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
Mount Royal University (MRU) has released the new prices for its parking permits for the incoming school year, and some students have responded with a petition against the price hike citing that the increase “only adds to their stress and negatively impacts their education.”
Parking Permit Prices
According to a statement from MRU, the increase in the parking permits equates to around $11 per month or approximately 55 cents per day. Students have the option to either pay for one semester’s worth of parking or a year’s worth, which is what they have to pay for upfront.
Students who are parking at the East Gate Parkade will have to pay $1023.20 for the whole school year, which is a $93.20 increase from last year’s permit price of $930. Lots 1, 4, 6A and 8, as well as the Student Residence Lots 6 and 9, also went from $842 to $926.64, an increase of $84.64.
An Instagram account called MRU Chatter, which has become an avenue for students to voice their opinions and thoughts on topics such as dating, courses, faculty, school bylaws, tuition etc. within the MRU community, initiated a petition against these parking changes.
The petition, which has more than 500 signatures as of writing this article, is a reflection of what most of the account’s following have said about the price hike, according to the MRU Chatter admin.
“Most followers are against these new laws and prices. They do not approve and the general sentiment is that parking should be free or incredibly discounted for students,” the MRU Chatter admin adds.
When asked what prompted the petition, the admin said, “We simply aim to inform the board and others that these prices are beyond difficult for many. An educational institution is able to profit, but to gouge students on their ability to even arrive to the location is a difficult pill to swallow. They are outraged and upset, and wish to have their voices heard.”
An information design student named Kaitlin Laine voiced their opinion on the petition page and how the increase is such a financial burden.
“We are not only students who had to learn through a pandemic and online, but we are the students that will suffer from job losses, inability to find jobs, increased housing, food and gas prices, and to top it off we now have to pay an extra $1,000 to just park at the institution we already pay thousands to attend. MRU is not showing its students that they care and understand we are struggling, they’re showing us that they only care about the money,” Laine said.
MRU said in their statement that they have not increased parking prices since 2019 and even with the increase, it still remains more affordable than other post-secondary institutions in Calgary.
MRU also supports itself when it comes to parking maintenance.
“Parking infrastructure on campus is not supported by infrastructure and maintenance funding from the Province. Parking fees and fine revenue support parking operations and allow Mount Royal to invest in facility maintenance and renewal,” the statement from MRU reads.
Parking Fines and Bylaws
Aside from the permits increasing, fines for parking infractions have also increased. Last year, the lowest fine a student could get was $17, which has now become $60. The $60 fine can be from a number of reasons including not paying for parking, fire lane violations, not parking within the stall or line or space and more.
The highest fine a student can pay is $250 which are from forging or altering a physical permit, accessible parking violation and tampering with a traffic control device.
This change coincides with the bylaw that if a student’s outstanding fines accumulate to exceed $100, it could result in a student not being able to have registration access. This means that after two infractions minimum of $60, a student might not be allowed to register for classes next semester unless they paid for those fines.
With the new bylaws, MRU parking also gets to keep all the revenue generated from the fines. In the past, MRU engaged with the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) for parking enforcement and CPA kept all that revenue.
“Moving parking enforcement in-house gives MRU more control, and will also provide the opportunity to keep revenue on campus to support the costs of parking operations and infrastructure maintenance and renewal to the benefit of students, faculty, staff and visitors who park on campus,” the statement adds.
Jorja Mercer-Penney, a second year Communications student, said that these changes have made her decide to start working on top of being a full-time student in MRU; something that she thinks will hurt her grades.
“I understand everything’s more expensive now but students can’t keep up with these increases,” Penney added.