Price for parking rises – along with staff and student frustrations


In the first weeks back at school students are finding their classes, reuniting with friends, buying their textbooks and paying more for their parking permits.

Much to the frustration of staff and students, Sheridan has raised the cost of an annual parking pass by $40, taking it from $410 last year to $450 this September.

It’s a 9 per cent increase in price.

The increase is the first of a four year process that will result in a $165 spike in price by September 2016.

It’s even causing at least one professor to resort to parking off campus.

“If they can’t balance their budget they shouldn’t be putting it on the backs of students and staff,” said journalism-new media professor Leslie Butler. “I’ll be parking at the St. Simon Church, I’m not giving them my money.”

President Jeff Zabudsky explains that the increase was implemented to make up for a government funding deficit.

“Government funding, which has gone from 90 to 40 per cent, is very minimal,” he said in an interview. “We are expected to fund ourselves.”

Zabudsky and Sheridan’s vice president of finance and administration, Steven Parfeniuk, decided to increase the price of parking after comparing Sheridan’s rates to colleges in the surrounding area.

Sheridan is charging $385 for a two-semester pass while Humber’s cost is $578 and Mohawk is charging $450.

“Parking is a service to be sold in order to contribute to the bottom line,” Zabudsky said. “I would be doing a disservice to Sheridan if we continued to undercut ourselves.”

At $450 per car for an annual pass, the parking lot represents a large source of Sheridan revenue.

At $450 per car for an annual pass, the parking lot represents a large source of Sheridan revenue.

The increase, which was originally supposed to be delivered as a lump sum, was met with frustration and opposition among faculty and support staff, who had been notified of the change via email by Parfeniuk.

A faculty member wrote an open letter in response, voicing his concerns, which led to a series of three meetings over the summer between administration and complainants.

Butler made it to two of the three meetings in order to express her concern over the issue.

“I’ve never seen anything like it here at Sheridan, the reaction was huge,” she said.

According to Zabudsky, it’s because of the staff reaction and the meetings that the increase was changed from a lump sum to a four-year plan.

Butler has been teaching at Sheridan for 27 years and is outraged about the increase and the overall handling of the situation.

According to Butler, the increase goes against a promise made to faculty members not to raise parking prices.

“No one was consulted and the meetings they held were frankly insulting,” she said. “None of our questions were answered and the student voice has been largely unheard.”

Some Sheridan students say they were largely oblivious to the change in price and the opposition that followed, as it occurred over the summer break.

“I had no idea,” said Nicole Cassivi, a third-year advertising student, who found out about the increase as she was standing in line to purchase her pass.

“I thought it was kind of ridiculous before and I wasn’t expecting it to go up,” she said, leaving her place in line. “I’ll find somewhere else to park.”

Student Union president Jenna Pulver said they were kept aware and up to date of the issue but that it was difficult to get student opinion on the matter because of the timing.

“Obviously I would like it to stay as low as possible, but I understand the rationale behind raising it,” she said. “They’ve included new options this year, and the shuttle will be good for everybody.”

She’s referring to the new inter-campus shuttle bus system which runs hourly between 7a.m. to 7p.m. and operates free of charge to Sheridan staff and students.

Zabudsky stands by the shuttle as a solution to some of the dissatisfaction as well.

“It’s at least another option,” he said. “I just hope people are patient with it while it’s in its testing phase.”

Zabudsky says revenue from the price increase will go towards maintenance of the lots and the school buildings, and assisting teachers and support staff in expanding programs.

“Nobody likes to see costs go up, but that’s why we introduced the multi-year plan,” he said. “We tried to be open and transparent, and there won’t be any shocks from here.”

How do you feel about the price hike?


Do you agree with the decision to increase the price for parking permits at Sheridan?

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