The Tyranny of On-Campus Parking Tickets
by Ryan Cadinha


Permit dispensers, designated beach access, fifteen minute zones, one hour zones, seventy five minute zones, staff only parking, resident parking only, maintenance only parking, customers only and those adored ticket distributors. Of all the rigors of university life, campus and I.V. parking can be the most brutal daily contention. Granted, the pregnancy scare with your girlfriend was traumatic and the fear of insurmountable debt is constant but nothing, I repeat nothing, can make your butt hole tighten like seeing a damned forty dollar citation brazenly placed by higher powers named “Scapay,” on your windshield.

Parking permits for UC Santa Barbara will set you back around three hundred and fifty dollars if you want to park on campus during the week rather than just on nights and weekends or Halloween. The different permits are only sold on a yearly basis. I selected the most expense of these strikingly cell phone company-like parking packages because I don’t live in IV and need to commute to school everyday. By buying this overpriced gate key to the cryptic land of University parking structures for three hundred plus dollars, I assumed you could park anywhere on campus at anytime without hassle. I felt the price was sufficient to purchase unbroken parking peace of mind. My facade of tranquility came crashing down around me one Thursday morning as I returned to my car at Embarcadero Hall.

I don’t have a problem with holding a class in IV, even though driving there means a battle with droves of self important American Eagle clad bikers who will never yield the way, but I do have a problem with there being no available parking for students if they must attend class there. On the particular day in question, I had left my car in the lot surrounding Embarcadero Hall. This seemed only logical to me, but as I was to learn, logic and parking on campus align in a certain paradox. Half the lot is designated “staff” in white paint. The other half is not. I parked in an unpainted spot and attended a riveting lecture.

Imagine my dismay as I returned from class and discovered that unsightly citation on my windshield. You all know the feeling, no matter how small the fine might be, a parking ticket has some unholy power to momentarily drop your heart and set your day on a horrible tangent. “You motherfuckers,” I railed as I swiftly tore the offending subject out from under my wiper. “No permit” was the reason stated for the ticket. Those stupid bastards, could they not see the miniature surfing man above a UCSB bar code on the left bottom corner of my windshield? I reversed my vehicle quickly backward in anger and my rear bumper collided with the concrete retaining wall. I sat for a moment to compose myself (In through the nose, hold…, out through the mouth). I would only add the first dent on my car to the verbal onslaught I was to deliver to parking services for their transgression against my vehicular Shangri-la.

I drove around the maze of campus parking lots for ten minutes before calling the telephone number printed on the small, insidious parchment. “Parking Services” answered a semi-friendly voice. I asked for directions to his dastardly location and he provided them satisfactorily. For a moment I thought that I had been too harsh in my judgment of the parking people. This was all a big misunderstanding and we would clear it up like rational adults. I cruised with my radio loud and felt a certain peace and good harmony toward man within. I arrived and walked up toward the trailer that houses the parking gods. In regards to my request to dispute the ticket, the student who heard my case at the window said, “You can fill it out in person, but that’s really for people who don’t know how to go online.” Lord! Had this half witted ape truly placed me lower on the mental hierarchy than his own ranks even? Had he truly insulted my basic technical abilities or was this moron trying his hand at a joke? Either way, I relented after what transpired between myself and the altar boy of the parking Gestapo and decided to carry matters further online.

I stated concisely yet eloquently the aforementioned circumstances of the ticket in an online appeal form. I was confident my troubles with this matter were over and considered myself free of the debt. Of course, I was duped again and the online appeal was in fact a charade perpetrated by the very parking Nazis themselves to fleece the young lambs of privileged families. While I admired their business savvy, I could not help but develop a stomach level loathing for these impudent bastards.
“We have carefully reviewed your appeal as well as your feedback and information provided. There was no valid campus permit displayed in the vehicle; therefore, the vehicle was subject to receive a citation. The lot in question (39 Parking) is for staff and faculty during business hours”

This reply completely disregarded any details I had mentioned in my appeal. Yet they had the gall to write “carefully reviewed,” the condescending pricks. And please don’t tell me that parking for a hall that seats two hundred and fifty students and one professor during a class is really designated entirely for staff and that you allow only half of it to be marked as such and have the nerve to charge me, a student, three hundred and some odd dollars to park on your campus and then ticket me for doing so. I requested another appeal, stating that I was not satisfied that my case was considered at all, as their response did not explain any of the facts I presented. The Parkies responded that I could request another appeal but had to pay the fine first. They had finally shown me what this was all about- Money.

Its tragic that the university system feels justified in taking from people who are in debt and most likely just surviving. The machine of education is possessed by the ghost of profit. “It is not wise to rape the future, oh muses of capital” we should chant around it. “While you take us for ridiculous rents, charge us for citations and court cases for drinking in public and charge us criminal prices for substandard food, we won’t take it lying down anymore, you hear? So make your money with your own errant hands and keep your extortionist bullshit off my car! I’m parkin’ on the fuckin’ street!” Scream it into the gear casings and bowels of the machine. Paint it on the ground.


  1. What is your opinion, if any, about campus events, say Homecoming, and campus police asking you to move your car with the ultimatum of towwing it? I want a good rant that I can mass produce for all my friends. Eff football. Our team sucks anyway.