Throughout the football season, many SVSU students have complained through the Facebook group “SVSU WE’RE BOSS” about being charged for parking in the tailgate lots outside the Ryder Center, even when they had shown student IDs.
Students especially expressed concerns about being charged during the Wayne State game on Sept. 22, the Homecoming game on Oct. 13 and the Battle of the Valleys game on Oct. 27.
Social work junior Brenan Curtiss was charged for parking at the Wayne State game on Sept. 22, the Homecoming game on Oct. 13 and the Ferris game on Oct. 20.
“For all of these games, I showed my student ID,” he said. “… I think it’s ridiculous that as students who already pay to go here and haven’t ever had to pay to park at tailgates, that they attempted to make us pay for it. I love taking my truck to tailgates to have a good time with my friends and fellow students, and even though it’s only $5 to park, that adds up after a while.”
In the past, SVSU students have not been charged for parking. Michael O’Hearn, the Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Events, confirmed that students should not be charged for parking this academic year.
SVSU’s baseball team is in charge of parking during the games as part of a fundraiser for the team, O’Hearn said. During the Homecoming game, O’Hearn said that the baseball coach, Steve Jaksa, accidentally charged both SVSU and non-SVSU students to park.
“When I heard during Homecoming that students were being charged, I went down and told (the baseball team) that we don’t charge students,” he said. “(Jaksa) was new during the Homecoming game, and no one was trying to charge anyone they shouldn’t have.”
Outside of the Homecoming game, O’Hearn believes some students may have been charged because they did not have their student IDs.
“To know who is a student, we do have them show their student IDs,” he said. “Now, there were a lot of cases where people would be going to study and said they didn’t have their ID, and (the baseball team) would let them park anyways. … They really tried not to charge any students.”
While students were charged during other games even when they showed their ID, neither Jaksa nor O’Hearn heard any complaints about SVSU students being charged.
“After talking with the baseball coach, (Jaksa) heard very few complaints and said he would work with anyone who did,” O’Hearn said. “I don’t know if there were people who had problems with this and didn’t voice their complaints at the time, though.”
O’Hearn hopes to avoid the problem in the future through increased communication with students and.
“Every year from now on, now that we have our new ticketing system, (students) have to download the new all-season pass,” he said. “I want to put something in there that lets every- one know to bring their student ID to get free parking. We are going to put signs up as well.”
For now, O’Hearn asks that students continue to bring their IDs and to let himself or another facilities staffer know that they were charged for parking.