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The Blue & Gray Press | August 25, 2019

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Letter: College Avenue decal restrictions poorly communicated to students

Dear Editor,

On Friday, Oct. 22, many students got $100 or more parking tickets for being parked on College Avenue with decals.  I, like many other students, was unaware this was an issue.  I didn’t know that we could be fined for parking there because I thought it was city jurisdiction. Like many others, I had been parking there for a couple of years without issue. Apparently, decal parking only on College Avenue has always been a rule but they have just begun to enforce it.  My argument is that the website only states that you can park there with a red commuter decal.  It does not say that you cannot park there without a decal.

David Sing, head of parking management, asked me if I would ever “park in a lot for commuters.”  I replied, “No, because it is clearly labeled with a sign that says ‘red decals only.’”  There are no signs posted about parking on College Ave., and there is nothing clear on the website about it, either.  Sing told me, “It doesn’t need to say it, you should just know.”

I’ve done my homework.  I’ve called everyone from Ray Tuttle, Dean Rucker, and Susan Knick, and finally decided to go right to the top.  An e-mail conversation with President Rick Hurley actually became pretty long and involved other members of the administration.  They seemed appalled that I was not aware that you needed a decal to park there, but I argued that there was zero signage about the issue.

Finally, after a lot of conversation, I was able to persuade them to put out an email about the issue for the students and post something on the website.

Rachael Wonderlin is a senior.


  1. jw

    As an alumni, what I remember is that in order to get your parking decal, you had to agree to the MW parking terms and regulations presented in a handbook. I’d check that. But I never knew anyone who was not aware that you had to have a commuter decal to park on College Ave…

  2. M

    When I got my first UMW parking permit as a resident, I received a 25$ ticket for parking on college ave with a yellow sticker, despite the fact that an officer on campus informed me and my roommate that it was okay to park there. It was not waived and I had already paid a ridiculous amount for the permit, but as I recall, the CITY did the ticketing…

    After I moved off campus. I walked to school nearly every day because of the outrageous cost of a parking permit, or I got a ride with someone else. On the rare occasion I had to come to campus for something unexpected or late at night or in extreme cold, I parked on College Ave, and I wasn’t the only one, far from it indeed.

    The norm of it has been that the college didnt really want you to park there on a city street without paying a ton of money to them, but that before they couldn’t or wouldn’t enforce it.

    To suddenly switch without even sending out an email before handing out 100$ tickets shows the school decided to make revenue off of students rather than giving them an opportunity to fix the problem without massive fines.

  3. Rachael Wonderlin

    They only recently started enforcing this “rule,” so most students don’t know that it exists. They have yet to send out a mass email (like they promised me) about the issue. I love UMW but this is ridiculous. Students deserve more notice about these things. It was not made clear on the website at all. I believe they updated the site but did not notify the students about the update.