Parking part deux

I would first like to complement Bart Clareman ’05 for his great research piece in the January 28 Record, about the discovery of 67 free spaces in the new Parking Garage. Attached to this article was a special attention box asking “Why haven’t student leaders highlighted the apparent contradiction with the College’s stated explanations?” followed by the Record Board Editorial criticizing the College Council for not following up on the issue. The goal of the College Council is not to highlight issues. Our goal is to get results. Approximately six weeks ago, the College Council requested that the administration consider student parking in the new garage. This proposal was rejected. In our January 22 meeting, town manager Peter Fohlin kindly joined us in lobbying the College on the students’ behalf. According to the Campus Planning Final Report (a copy may be found in the Williamstown Public Library) to the President and Trustees of Williams College, one key recommendation stated: “Continue efforts to discourage student automobile use. Improve bicycle amenities and reassign student parking to remote sites.”

Nevertheless, I am very pleased to announce that 49 parking spaces will be granted for spring 2003. We know the Record had good intentions, and would very much like the issue to be further pursued. We thank the Administration for this kind gesture and hope to bring to their attention the overall deteriorating quality of student life which has resulted from this period of change. We certainly do understand that we as a College must remain competitive in the long term — that construction and change are necessary after a long period of stagnation. However, students have had to endure loud construction noises at eight in the morning, an unpopular housing coordinator system, ineffective housing changes resulting from the CUL proposal which are not being actively re-examined, increased bureaucracy in social planning, and many other real problems as a byproduct of these changes. The College must continue to be more sensitive to the harsh short-term effects of what has been imposed upon the student body.