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Archive for Thursday, August 30, 1990

POPULARITY NOT A PERK OF PARKING PATROL JOB

August 30, 1990

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Who do Kansas University students love to hate? Student parking ticket writers, of course.

"I've never had any physical threats," said Coby Craghead, a Wichita senior in his third semester on the job.

"Every once in a while you'll write a ticket and a guy . . . will drive by and yell `Thanks.'"

Actually, it's not a dangerous occupation.

No ticket writers have been attacked in at least five years, said supervisor Rita Jordan.

"Most people are very nice and know when they've done something wrong," she said. "They don't always like it, but they know."

Jordan said ticket writers do make mistakes, which are easily corrected by canceling the ticket.

"AND THEN there's the story officers tell about towing the governor's car . . . at a football game when he parked on the grass," she said.

There are plenty of opportunities for students to get ticked off. In the last academic year, 70,619 tickets were issued.

Craghead said he often gets asked by friends about the best way to deal with parking on campus.

"Sometimes people who get a ticket downtown will ask `How much do I have to pay for this?' For God sakes, we don't deal with that," he said.

Donna Hultine, assistant director of parking services, said ticket writers usually bear the brunt of parking violators' frustration.

Much of that is misplaced, she said, because student workers are enforcing regulations made by others.

"(Violators) don't see the parking board, which is made up of faculty, staff and students," she said. "It's voices from each of these bodies making up the rules."

OTHER OBSTACLES for ticket writers are the steamy Kansas summers and bitterly cold Kansas winters, Jordan said.

They also see some silly things while walking their beat.

"One man didn't read where he was supposed to put a parking sticker (windshield) and put it on the brand new paint job of his car," she said.

Jordan said that over the past five years only one employee has been fired for playing favorites on the job.

"Usually we don't place them in an area where they will be faced with that temptation. There's a lot of pressure out there," she said.

HULTINE said there are less than a dozen ticket writers on staff. More are needed. The pay is minimum wage.

Turnover is typically light and some students work for parking services for years.

"We've had some who are with us the whole time they were in college and we've had families brother and sister come through," she said.

Craghead said he enjoys his job, because parking services makes an effort to work around his class schedule.

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