On September the 2nd, students who used the receipt from the vendor of the new parking pass instead of the actual pass were ticketed by Yuba Community College District Police. For a week after the incident you couldn’t go anywhere on the Yuba College campus without hearing students or faculty discussing what had happened to them or fellow students.
With so many on campus affected by the ticket fiasco I began to wonder, who at Yuba College really know how the events played out that Friday and know the procedure for disputing tickets received on campus.
Unlike the passes that the District has used in the past,the new passes, started during the 2011 Summer semester, are mailed directly to the student. The Summer semester was actually used as a test for the new system but did not expose the problem.This was possibly due to the lower number of students that attend classes during the Summer semester. In past semesters students would receive their pass from admissions as soon as it was purchased.
YCCD put considerable attention towards notifying students about the change of the pass system and the date that ticketing would begin. By putting an announcement on the web portal, small signs throughout the campus, a large banner in front of the admissions building, and an electronic sign borrowed from the Marysville Police Department, YCCD thought they had covered the bases in notifying students about the new parking pass system.
According to an interview with Vice-Chancellor Al Alt, the changes to how passes were sold to students was worked over by a committee that contemplated the change prior to being implemented. Putting student’s convenience as first and foremost.
Alt also stated that the change was made, “out of convenience to the student” so they would not all be forced to wait in line. Which did help this semesters line at admissions which was shorter than previous semesters because not every student was forced to wait in the long line.
Those students that did not have access to a credit card were the exception. Because the only way to purchase a pass online is with a credit card, the only other option, being forced to wait in the dreaded line. Which thankfully, was reduced by students that purchased their passes online with a credit card.
One of the problems with mailing parking passes is that it takes five to seven business days and not all students receive their financial aid five to seven days before the suspension of the twenty-four hour enforcement ends and ticketing begins. Some receiving it just before ticketing was scheduled to begin on YCCD campuses.
This combination of having to wait five to seven business days and the wait for financial aid is the root cause of the fiasco. Possibly another reason why the students that attended Summer courses never exposed the problem could be because most did not have an interruption in their financial aid. As most of those that receive financial aid know, it doesn’t normally arrive when expected and most times will not be sent out before the school year begins. Forcing those students to either pay for a daily pass or beg and borrow the money to purchase a parking pass.
Untimely financial aid and getting the actual passes days after they were ordered was obviously an issue on the Yuba College campus. The parking lots were jammed with vehicles waiting in long lines waiting to buy daily passes and white sheets of paper laying on vehicles dashes throughout the parking lot. It was the white paper, the email from the vendor notifying all of those that purchased a pass or that the pass would arrive in the mail that day that started the problem.
Many students that had not received their passes in time were instead using the email as a temporary pass. Paying for a daily passafter just shelling out $40, along with a rumor that spread on campus about the printed email being sufficient as a temporary pass, made sense to most but some didn’t see it that way.
Instead when it was reported to Vice-Chancellor Al Alt that there were students using emails as parking passes he referred to District policy that states a parking pass must be displayed and the ticketing began. Alt said, “more importantly, we were concerned with asking students to display their personal information on their dash and the duplication of the receipts were also becoming an issue.” “Duplication of receipts” refers to students who were using another student’s receipt.
All vehicles without an actual parking pass received a ticket that day. A big part of the reason for the ticketing was because of the way some of those emails were displayed. Not all students laid the email on the dash so that it could be read in its entirety. Some were folded or had the name and address blacked out, making it appear as if they could have been tampered with or faked.
What some students were doing was hiding the personal information that appears on the receipt. According to multiple sources, there were students with copies of other student’s emails, attempting to use it as a temporary pass. Catching on to the many passes that had been been blackened out or folded and that those vehicles had not been ticketed the first few days of the suspension.
Because a few students decided to fraud the District many more were ticketed for trying to make an attempt at doing the right thing. Luckily for those truly honest students, YCCD has changed for the better and the Vice-Chancellor quickly realized his mistake in ticketing all of the students using receipts as parking passes because a few couldn’t be honest and responsible.
One of the many students ticketed that afternoon was Tucker Walden, a first time student to Yuba College and its parking procedures. Walden said that when it was realized he was ticketed, he was beyond angry. He feels that it was unfair to be ticketed even though he had done everything possible to avoid being ticketed.
Walden attempted to appeal the ticket soon after receiving it but his appeal was denied by campus police. The police department did reduce the amount of the fine to $10, half of the original fine but Walden has still not paid the fines because he is contemplating whether or not he will continue his appeal in front of a Yuba County judge in an actual courtroom. Walden stated, “it is the principle, not the money” but he is unsure if it is worth spending the time fighting a $10 ticket.
Walden brought his issue to George Cheso, President of the Associated Students of Yuba College, that students were being ticketed after being directed by Professor Robert Matthews. Soon after speaking to Walden, Cheso exposed the issue to YCCD Police Chief and Vice-Chancellor, explaining that it was not fair that a few students ruined it for an entire campus. Mr. Cheso worked with both the Police Chief and the Vice-Chancellor in framing out the response to the problem, putting an end to the ticketing of students that day.
Alt says that he would like to create a student forum so we no longer have issues, such as the parking fiasco, interfere with the more important issues on campus. This forum would be available so students can air their issues directly to the administration and receive a direct and immediate answer and actual progress in fixing the problem before growing into a larger problem. Hopefully reducing the problems that are encountered on campus and preventing another parking pass problem.
When the forum is created we will announce the specifics on the Prospectors website at, theprospector.org. The only way that this can work is if students actually participate. Ten students complaining about ten different issues will not solve much of anything. If you were impacted by the ticketing, or anyone with possible solutions, basically everyone attending Yuba College, are encouraged to attend. Instead of dwelling on the problem it is hoped that the forum will create solutions instead of more issues. Alt is very adamant about getting the forum going and making it work for students and the campus as a whole.
If you were one of the unlucky students that got fined for attempting to do the right thing then the fiasco is still going on for you and you will need to appeal the violation. There is an appeal application available online at yccd-webapp.yccd.edu/Police/forms/ParkingReviewRequest.aspx. Because the YCCD Police Department is an actual police department, the tickets have been processed into the the legal system just as if you had gotten a parking ticket in Downtown Yuba City.
The good thing is that we have the option of pleading our case directly to the Chief of Police on the Yuba College campus. If the Chief sees that the ticket was given in error then there is a good chance that he will either suspend the fine or decrease the amount owed. This all depends on what the ticket was given for. If you blacked out the information or had it folded but have proof that you paid for the pass before the suspension of enforcement ended on August 29th you may have to pay a reduced fine. Those without that proof of purchase will have to pay the full fine of $20.00 but chances are, those are the individuals that forged the email.
If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of your initial appeal you can request your day in court and stand before an actual Yuba County Judge. Before you go that far I suggest that you contact the ASYC President George Cheso. Cheso has been spreading the word that he is willing to help any student that continues to have problems with the ticket that was received because of the parking pass fiasco or feels that they should not pay the fine. With Cheso’s knowledge of how the District’s system works, this could be helpful for those that are new to college life or do not have a full understanding of how the process works. Hopefully this doesn’t go as far as court and the problem can be solved on campus instead of flooding the local courtroom with angry students.
Only a year ago a fast and efficient solution never would have happened the way it did recently. The old way of doing business on campus was to drag out an incident as long as possible, with both sides fighting to the bitter end. There would have been students and faculty protesting and school officials hoping that the problem would just go away or tell lies in an attempt to do the same.
Today YCCD seems to have changed to officials that will now stand up and take responsibility for mistakes. We now have a Vice-Chancellor that is willing to step up and try to right what was wronged, even willing to create a new forum just for students to express their views and a Chief of Police that prides himself on being balanced and fair when it comes to dealing with situations such as this. Not to mention the new Chancellor that is rumored to be a God sent for the entire District.
The first fiasco of the 2011 Fall semester may actually be something that we can all learn from and possibly benefit students in the long run. Showing us that business is not going on as usual at Yuba College and that if students speak up, results can and will happen. By taking the correct avenues, fiascoes such as this can be remedied rather quickly but when those fail, then we protest.
This article appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of the Prospector in a shortened form because of space restraints.