In a development that should surprise no one, UCSB’s administrators, professors and staffers can’t agree where to park it or how to pay for it.
There are not enough parking spots at UCSB for all the people who want to drive here, and the people who do drive to the U by the C have to buy parking permits at $35 per month. Meanwhile, the university is, as always, expanding, and it has found some nice, flat land to do it on – parking lots.
The new California NanoSystems Institute – a very big building for the study of very small things, with a very large price tag – will be plunked down on Lot 10, bringing in even more cars and squashing about 200 parking spots all at the same time. To replace the spots, the administration wants to build a $26 million garage with 825 parking spots – enough, maybe, to ease the parking crunch a little.
The problem is that finding money for the garage means making parking permits cost $15 more per month, and there are a lot of nuts in this parking crunch. While anyone parking at UCSB will pay more, the most upset people are Staff Members and the University’s Regular Faculty (S.M.U.R.F.s).
Old S.M.U.R.F.s – professors and staffers – are miffed because they have already paid for parking lots, which the university bulldozed, so the S.M.U.R.F.s had to pay for new parking, and now the university wants to bulldoze another parking lot and make them pay for more parking.
Young S.M.U.R.F.s – indentured servants known as graduate students – are miffed because they get the bad end of every deal and because professor S.M.U.R.F.s boss them around and make them grade papers written by idiots.
But the angriest S.M.U.R.F. of all is history and Chicano studies Professor Mario T. García. He’s upset that the new parking fees will eat up the smaller-than-expected pay raise for S.M.U.R.F.s. García says the new fees would be “wrong and an injustice.” Because parking is the most important injustice since squirrel segregation, García is leading a “struggle” against the administration in general and Chancellor Henry Yang (affectionately known as Hank) in particular.
At García’s urging, over 150 angry S.M.U.R.F.s have sent messages to the chancellor. Hank is looking like he accidentally swallowed a small and possibly poisonous toad, but he is sticking to his guns.
The battle lines are drawn, the trenches are dug and, because this is a university, the trenches are called committees.
García leads angry S.M.U.R.F.s in a committee he calls, “Concerned Faculty, Staff and Students for Fair Parking Fees.” The committee thinks the state – still going broke, by the way – should pay for any new garages because “parking is a vital part of one’s job.” (At press time, it is unclear how many valets the committee represents.)
Hank, in bold retaliation, has formed a committee to be named later. He says the committee will work “diligently, thoroughly and sensitively on addressing and responding to all of our campus community’s concerns.” Translated into English, this means that all plans to boil the S.M.U.R.F.s alive in molten parking fees will continue to be planned. The existence of the committee merely ensures a slow boil.
Only now, the fees will have to cover committees and nobody is going to get free validation.