Feb 26, 2008

Parking ticket rumor laid to rest, but depravity of man remains

by Jen Slothower

Rumors swirled in recent weeks about the nullification of parking tickets on Liberty’s campus. 
Although many different accounts surfaced, Jerry Falwell Jr. put the rumor to rest with a recent official explanation.
“One day, I noticed a whole line of student cars at LaHaye Ice Center with tickets on their windows,” Falwell explained.
“The cars were not blocking a driveway or causing any problems, but they were just outside the marked spaces.  I pulled all the tickets off the cars and turned them in to be cancelled. At the same time, I told LUPD to go easier on students and suggested they should use discretion in writing tickets by limiting tickets to cars parked hazardously or blocking roadways.
“LUPD thought I was ordering that my example of how they might use more discretion should become policy, and they implemented it. I never intended that any new policy be implemented without full discussion. My goal was and is to find a parking policy that maintains order but is a little more flexible.
“After a couple of weeks, I began receiving complaints from employees because LUPD had told them that I had ordered that no tickets be written.  That was never the intent. I have since met with Sgt. Rich Hinkley of LUPD and I think they now have a good understanding of the direction we need them to pursue.”
Thankfully, order has been restored on campus as the little yellow tickets have found their way under many a windshield wiper in the last week, but just a few days ago, anarchy still pervaded campus on the wings of the rumor.
Many students have approached me, wide-eyed, and asked whether I knew if the rumors were true.  Accompanying these salivating students were cries of “This is awesome!” and “The Falwells are the coolest!”
Hours later, I took a gander past the Vines Center and around the Circle — two prime parking areas for ticketing students.  Cars littered the restricted lots in broad daylight and crowded the fire lanes.
Within a few days I, as an off-campus worker who lives on a residence hall, could no longer find a close parking space upon returning from my hard day of work — even as early as seven in the evening.  Freshmen bounded around the Circle in newfound euphoria, thrilled that they could race on and off campus at all hours of the day while upperclassmen, after already having served their time parking in the Pit during previous years, were consigned to the lower lot again to trod back to the room for evening studies.  Commuters were suddenly seen stumbling into classes late, faces red and shirts sweaty, because their spaces were mysteriously full.
I agree that it is difficult to find a parking spot.  With proper planning and good timing, however, a satisfactory spot used to be found easily. However, with no tickets being issued, people started parking wherever they pleased and spaces were at a premium.
This trend reveals the depravity of man, alive and well on Liberty campus.
I know a few select students who continue to park where they are allowed, when they are allowed.  A rule is a rule, whether it is enforced or not, and these students are going to obey their authority.  If something as silly as a parking space is enough to give up your integrity, fine, but be warned that all of life holds little rules and situations we will not enjoy.  It is best to get used to that now.
Although it is a shame that parking tickets must be used to enforce the rules, the tickets serve the good of the school.  If a dorm started burning down, trucks would not be able to get into the Circle with some of the aforementioned parking problems.
In addition, traffic tension was alleviated by the bus system, which has provided for the transportation needs of many so that students do not have to drive back and forth on campus to get to classes.
The problem here is not parking, and it is certainly not administration  or student measures against parking tickets.  The problem is that we — as people, as Liberty students and as mankind —
are all too prone to disobey if we think we can escape punishment.
In the grand scheme of life, Hell is most often the motivator for salvation.  Corporate fraud continues until jail time is given.  People take the extra newspaper out of the rack when they only paid for one.  Music is stolen until consumers are caught.
Our quest for comfort too quickly motivates us to abandon what we know is right.  Even if authority seems unnecessary, it is what God has placed over us, and it is essential for our lives.
It is parking tickets today, but it could be something much bigger tomorrow.  Perhaps we should fashion our integrity now.
Then we would not need such tickets.

Contact Jen Slothower at jrslothower@liberty.edu.

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