PTK and the Student Senate; Tackling Parking and Fossil Fuel Divestment

CaptureBy Erik Squire

With Thanksgiving rolling around, we can all be thankful that the election is finally over. Not having to watch crumby political ads on TV isn’t the only thing to be grateful for though. We can be grateful for our productive students that do great things on and off campus. We can be thankful that the Student Senate is addressing parking issues. We can also be grateful that Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) is taking measures to make sure Maine Community College System (MCCS) is investing in socially and ethically responsible investments.
Parking:
The Student Senate had a special guest come and visit a few meetings ago; the man of the hour was Public Safety Director, Jay Manhardt. All the questions on the agenda were parking/road related.
The Student Senate talked with Mr. Manhardt about making a commuter lot to allow easier access for students who have to rush to a job after school. After discussing this idea with him the Senate decided to address the idea with policy in a later meeting.
The Senate also brought up their concerns about students speeding in and out of Benjamin W Pickett St. Recently a student’s dog was killed in a hit and run. The suggestion put forth is to put a speed bump in the road to slow things down. Mr. Manhardt explained that the City of South Portland owns the road and that SMCC can’t control anything there. However, he did say that the students could draft a letter to the city requesting a speed bump be placed there. The Senate intends on following up with this letter as well as requesting endorsement from businesses along the road.
Mr. Manhardt also talked about a few things in regards to parking fines:
1. SMCC got rid of the policy that prohibited students from signing up for courses until they paid their fines.
2. Visitors don’t have to pay their fines, because the tickets can’t be enforced. However, this only applies to visitors who are not students. Anyone who has an SMCC parking sticker can/will be ticketed for parking violations, and the fines will be upheld.
3. Students can/will be ticketed multiple times for the same violations in the same day. For instance, a student parks where they shouldn’t and gets ticketed. Then the student leaves their car in the same place after removing the ticket from their windshield. They can/will receive a fine for the same violation.
4. Mr. Manhardt addressed the fact that handicap students and visitors can park virtually anywhere as long as they aren’t blocking a fire hydrant or in the way of traffic.
Finally, the Senate asked about the number of parking tickets that had been given. Mr. Manhardt stated that 1,362 fines had been dispensed since the beginning of the semester. Out of all the tickets received only 13 were overturned. Equipped with this new information, the Student Senate is working on having “No Parking” signs painted on areas where there are large amounts of violations being made.

PTK Referendum:
Many of you may have noticed voting booths in the Campus Center. No, they are not for electing politicians. As mentioned in a previous edition of Campus Exposed, PTK (the international honors society for all two-year colleges) has put forth a referendum to vote on whether or not MCCS should divest from fossil fuels.
Up until this point, 200 people have cast their votes. Of the votes casted, about 85% are a yes (MCCS should divest), while 15% said no (MCCS should not divest).
The president of Alpha Chi Nu (SMCC’s chapter of PTK), Jason Glynn, is considering keeping the referendum open another week. If you would like to vote but have only now heard about it, please vote in the Campus Center or online at: surveymonkey.com/s/SMCCVote2014

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