ADSG Holds First Town Hall Meeting

Jose Perales, ADSG Public Relations Chair 

On Oct. 16, ADSG held their first Town Hall Meeting with many day students, Chief Operating Officer Rebecca John, Director of Public Safety Scott Brownell and Vice President of Student Affairs Ann Garvey to discuss towing, ticketing and parking on campus. With the historically largest incoming first-year class and the removal of a full-size parking lot due to the Hagfors building, there has never been a more significant demand for parking on campus. Scott Brownell states that DPS has been “actively assessing the parking situation and creating solutions that are greener and that will benefit all students, staff, and facility that have purchased parking permits.”  

These solutions have caused concerns with current students, as there has been an increase in towing and ticketing. Questions, concerns and comments have been pouring into the Student Concerns Committee about towing instead of ticketing as a first violation, Brownell answers to this by explaining what towing looked like in the past:  “One is subject to towing if they have a minimum of three parking violations, in some cases up to five parking violations. Vehicles were also subject to towing if one is parked on a surface area that is not intended for parking, such as blocking fire lanes, fire hydrants, and handicap spaces.” 

Brownell then went on explaining public safety’s process last year. Lot A was designated as a carpool lot – which has 16 spaces available. Only five carpool permits were sold, in which wasted space by not filling these parking spots caused more concerns than solutions. This academic year, Lot A is a visitor lot. The faculty and staff lot, lot D, now holds designated spaces for carpooling vehicles with the goal that if demand for carpooling permits increases, Public Safety can increase the supply on the fly without compromising a full lot dedicated to a specific type of parking. 

“[Carpooling permits] help us out by bringing fewer cars to campus…but we have to be able to guarantee them space. We can’t sell carpool permits and then say, “Oh, somebody else is parking there today.” – Scott Brownell  

The restructure of parking lots has made towing become more aggressive this year.  Two examples: if a non-carpool car is parked in a carpool spot and it does not have a valid Augsburg Parking Permit, that vehicle is automatically towed –  making that spot available for a vehicle that holds the proper parking permit. If the vehicle has a valid parking permit but is parked in the wrong lot, Public Safety looks in its database and will try to get in contact with the individual to move the vehicle, instead of towing – for now.  Towing and ticketing will become much more aggressive starting on Monday, December 2nd, 2019 for all vehicles that are not displaying proper permits for the specific designated lots. The new policy is Public Safety’s answer to students, staff and faculty that have purchased permits, and will only affect those that do not hold valid parking permits and those who are parked in the wrong location.

Public Safety is going to work with Marketing and Communications to proactively inform as many people as they can about their new Parking Lot Enforcement Changes.  

This Town Hall meeting was put together by Senators from the Public Relations and Student Concerns Committees. It was one of ADSG’s goals for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.  As ADSG continues, there are still various ambitious goals in our plan. Some of our goals set forward include setting up the foundation for Resident Advisors to receive free housing, not renewing our contract with A’viands, requiring all tenured and adjunct professors to receive diversity, inclusion and equity training, as well as working with the Environmental Action Committee to get a permanent landmark on campus recognizing the Indigenous people who originally inhabited the land that Augsburg occupies today.

This year, Student Government has moved at a rapid pace, in which senators have adapted to their roles well in both tackling goals set before them and bringing their own ideas to the table. 

Ethan Reed, First-Year Class Senator, has started to push his agenda, with the full support of the Executive Board. He has been working with the Center for Wellness and Counseling to ensure that every student who needs them has access to an unrestricted amount of sessions in a timely manner. Ethan has also been communicating with Ann Garvey about potentially bringing PSEO to Augsburg or making it a part of the Auggie Plan. With the proper administration in place, either plan would create new state-funded opportunities for highschoolers planning to attend Augsburg.

Willington Gahona, Incumbent Senator, has used his position on the Environmental Action Committee of ADSG to take the lead on a project – installing Culligan Water Bottle Refilling Stations in the Residence Halls, primarily one on every other floor in Urness and Mortensen Hall. 

14 ADSG Members have volunteered to be apart of the Special Committee for Undocumented Employment that meets with faculty and staff from all over campus. 

The Public Relations Committee has been receiving feedback both from students and senators on how to improve tabling and transparency. The current game plan that is going to be implemented over the next two weeks includes creating a “point system” that will reward students, staff and faculty that visit ADSG’s table; it also includes us becoming more visible by adding music and more ADSG Branding.