Brandeis currently ranks as the 57th most expensive college in the country with an average cost of attendance around $75,000. As the Justice editorial board, we find it hard to comprehend why a university as expensive as Brandeis would be on the hunt to fine students every chance they get. 

Students with a car on campus are no stranger to tickets on their windshield. Luckily, Brandeis generously offers residential students parking passes for an additional $250 a year and $120 for commuter students. Unfortunately, these passes do not grant access to all parking lots and available spaces on campus. For example, with a commuter parking pass, students are only allowed to park in T-lot and the Athletics Lot at Gosman. Residential passes are only valid for “South Residence” X-Lot, the Charles River Lot,  and the Foster Apartments Lot. 

These lots are not conveniently located for many academic buildings on campus, especially in north campus, which is why many students choose to park “illegally.” With many students needing a vehicle for work, transportation, or disability purposes, an additional $250 may not be feasible for all students who require their vehicle. 

However, if someone refuses to pay for a parking pass and accumulates tickets, they will receive a plethora of unwelcome emails, registration holds, and possible graduation implications. 

A student currently living at Foster Mods apartment complex reported over $600 worth of tickets. After receiving multiple phone calls and emails from University administration, the student refuses to bring their car back to campus. That car was used for transportation to-and-from their home, as well as off-campus work opportunities. 

A Brandeis community advisor was cited for parking violations after moving their vehicle to their residence. Even after paying for the parking pass and communicating that the move from one lot to the other was for an off-campus appointment, the University refused their appeal and upheld the $25 fine. 

The University urges their students to pursue opportunities in the Waltham community and beyond, yet forces students to pay additional fees in order to park on campus. While we recognize Brandeis’ Branvan and bus transportation services, there are a variety of places these modes of transportation cannot reach. These services are also unreliable at best. Furthermore, just by looking around the campus, it is quite rare that the entire University’s parking will be at full capacity. Excluding move-in day and large campus activities, which could be and are communicated to students through email, a large majority of campus parking lots and spaces remain open through the day.

University fines do not stop at parking tickets. From late fees at Student Financial Services to unreasonable and inconsistent SIMS lab fines, campus officials have become professionals at nickel-and-diming students every chance they get. The board understands that the University must maintain some sense of balance and respect. However, fining students and sending worrisome emails are not always the answer, especially considering that monetary punishments place unequal burdens on students based on income level and socioeconomic background. Students want the opportunity to engage with the community the best they can. We urge the University to meet them halfway and listen to their experiences.