Commuter fees increase at Auraria

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno


At the Auraria campus, approximately 95 percent of the tri-institutional student body commutes a distance greater than five miles to campus. Many of these students drive to class, which is evident by the maxed-out capacity of three parking garages, at least 12 AHEC dignified spaces, and even more CU Denver-specific parking areas such as the lot in front of the Student Commons Building.

It isn’t exactly difficult to see, even from an outsider’s perspective, that the only way in which this university can function is if commuter students are prioritized to the highest degree.

Yet, there has been a 25-cent flat increase to all parking spaces across campus. This is indubitably a policy change that will unilaterally affect the ways in which students will be able to get to campus.

Students who drive to classes every day will be forced to pay one more dollar weekly for an entire school year. This is the type of change that could potentially force a student to pursue more time-consuming forms of transportation such as public transit. It is not far-fetched to think that drastic lifestyle changes could cause severe decreases in the mental and financial well-being of CU Denver’s commuter students.

“Where do I begin?” said commuter student Logan Ruark. “This is an atrocity. The company that runs the parking is just taking advantage of us. You pay for parking that you had to drive 20 minutes to find in the first place, and then you have the inconvenience of finding spare change to pay them directly so it doesn’t have to get charged to your card. It really seems like this is a problem no one is paying any attention to.”

While the concerns of students like Ruark are valid, there was in fact a small, tri-institutional committee of students that oversaw and approved these changes from last year. This group is called the Student Advisory Committee to the Auraria Board (SACAB).

They are the student leadership that is responsible for working on initiatives between the three campuses. “The concerns of students are understandable and the new members of the committee will work to help these students,” Frida Silva, SACAB member, said. “We will try to create programs that are designed to have commuter students help other members of the student body to get parking passes. One exciting idea is to have students donate a certain amount of non-perishables to the food pantry for students facing crises. That way we solve two issues in one shot.”

While these ideas are compelling, it will be interesting to see if they will quell student outrage about these increases.

At the end of the day, the financial burden facing college students is already far too severe. The parking increases that have been implemented are not, in any capacity, designed to benefit the student body. The current state of parking facilities is functional as is, and no immediate plans to improve their conditions have been announced.

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