Many students who have returned to campus this fall are finding that a means of transportation can be an essential aspect of life on campus. Now three weeks into the school year most students have started to get into the flow of their daily schedules, and with that, the use of their vehicles on a regular basis.

One murky question emerges out of this situation, however. As we are all still unsure about how the semester will play out and if we will be able to remain on campus for the duration of this semester due to COVID-19, the question of student payment for parking passes hangs in the air. 

In previous years students have had to pay a fee in order to park their vehicles in certain designated areas on campus. The cost of this parking pass has been the subject of debate in years past, and this year is no exception. 

As many students are attending virtually from their dorms and many others have chosen to stay home this year, Zags are grappling with whether or not it is necessary for them to pay for a parking pass this year, if they are not able to move around as much as in previous semesters. 

In my opinion, yes, I believe students should still pay for parking passes each year. 

As a student with a car, I mainly use my vehicle to get around the city of Spokane, and I would venture to believe this is the case with many other students as well. 

In this respect, I look at the Gonzaga campus more as a large parking garage. GU is a privately-owned institution where I am keeping my property. I should pay a fee to store my property there if asked to by the institution. 

Additionally, the other aspects of my attendance, whether I’m fully online, studying at home, or in hybrid classes, do not affect the personal choice of the student bringing their vehicle to campus. 

Spokane is the second biggest city in Washington, and we as students pay $100 for the whole year for parking. Compared to other schools this fee is not astronomical, in fact it is on the lower end of parking pass prices. 

Washington State University pays their parking passes at variable rates throughout the year. In certain parking lots they can pay upwards of $900 during August for their annual parking permits according to WSU’s Transportation Services. 

When comparing their parking pass cost to ours, we are very fortunate to have such a low fee for year-round parking. Regardless, any student at any school still must pay to park their vehicle, even if they are learning virtually in their dorms. We would expect this of parking garages in downtown Spokane, so we should expect it from a university as well. 

I believe that it is fair and within their rights for GU to charge students that intend to bring a car to campus and store it safely while at school. 

If you choose to learn online while on campus rather than at home, expect to pay for your vehicle because I don’t think the parking permit fee is going anywhere. 

Hunter Hauser is a staff writer. 

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