If you’re a UAA student, odds are that you know about Parking Services. Whether it’s that nice little parking ticket tucked under your windshield wiper or those dark green-clad individuals winding their way between the rows of parked cars, the UAA Call Team Officers make themselves known. Unfortunately, they’re not always seen in the best of light.
Philip Schmidt, a freshman at UAA and one of the newest employees of the UAA Parking Services, has already gotten a bit of experience dealing with this less than friendly attitude toward his job responsibilities.
“I’ve gotten people who come up shouting and cussing, mad about the fact that I’ve ticketed them,” he said, a little smile on his face as he thought back to some of his more interesting encounters. “I had one guy who parked in a restricted zone, and he ripped the ticket off his windshield and waved it in my face, freaking out and telling me this was complete bull and he was tired of us Parking Nazis going around and ruining his day. That was a fun experience, for sure.”
Fortunately, things don’t usually get that extreme. Although Schmidt says he has gotten his share of angry individuals, his day to day is generally a lot more laid back.
“Those kind of episodes don’t happen very often, and for the most part I enjoy my job,” he said. “I get to walk around and pick up a lot of outdoor time, and this may sound cheesy, but I get to see the sun rise in the mornings. It’s a nice payoff I think.”
“As far as ticketing goes, I only ticket people who are doing something they shouldn’t be. It’s not like I’ve got a grudge against anyone, and just throw tickets around to get back at them or anything; I’m only fining them when they’re in the wrong. After the Super Bowl I was half-tempted to ticket cars with Green Bay stickers, but I didn’t. I’m not out to get people. I’m just doing my job.”
Many students complain about the lack of available parking space around campus, and Schmidt says he and the other CTO’s fully understand that parking situations can oftentimes be “bogus.”
“We try to be as lenient as possible,” he said.
“What people need to realize is that it’s up to the Call Team Officer’s discretion to ticket a person or not. For instance, if we’re in the middle of ticketing someone and they come running up saying they just ran in for a quick second and are apologetic and considerate about it, we’ll generally let them slide. But if they’re coming out yelling and cursing at us and calling us Parking Nazis, of course we’re going to ticket them. It’s common sense.”Schmidt was very adamant in pointing out that the CTO’s are all students as well. They are well aware of the frustrations that come with parking on campus. He says that the Parking Services work to make the rules and regulations concerning parking as clear as possible, and that their main goal is to work with the students, not against them.
“Of course people don’t like getting a ticket,” he said. “And when they get one, it’s only natural for them to be upset and think we’re the ones who did something wrong. In reality it’s them who have violated a parking regulation, and we’re there to correct them. There are signs all over campus that say where to park and where not to park, so it’s not like we’re setting them up to fail or anything.”
Schmidt also places great importance on the Call Team’s other responsibilities beyond ticketing people, namely their function as assistance to those who need it.
Beyond just enforcing University Parking Regulations, the student employees that make up the Call Team also provide jumpstarts, unlock vehicles, give safety escorts, and locate students in emergency situations.
“We’re kind of like a presence out in the parking lots, so if something is to happen, we’re there to help out.”
When asked what frustrated him the most about his job, Schmidt had an immediate response. He addressed the entire student body with his statement.
“Please, if you have an expired Pay-n-Park permit, do not try to get away with it by covering up the date. That’s not clever at all. If we see a permit with the date or time intentionally covered up, of course we know what’s going on and are going to fine you. I deal with that all the time, and it bugs the hell out of me. We’re not stupid; it’s a pretty obvious situation.”
Given the multiple experiences already gained from his parking services job, Schmidt has found his role as a Call Team Officer to be rather enjoyable.
“The group of students I work with are a fun bunch,” he said. “Apart from the belligerent people, I really have no complaints other than the fact that I wish it could be a lot warmer out when I’m working.”