A Kansas University faculty and student governance body Thursday rejected a proposal to end the practice of providing free parking on campus for state vehicles.
University Council refused to endorse the KU Parking Board's proposal, despite pleas from Alan Black, who chairs the parking board, and several members of council.
Black said he had reports of people taking advantage of the system by driving state vehicles to Murphy Hall for coffee breaks.
Tim Miller, assistant professor of religious studies, objected to the Parking Board's plan and wondered whether any state agency had extra funding to pay a parking fee for their vehicles.
"Is the Legislature going to give us an appropriation for this, Del (Shankel, executive vice chancellor)?" Miller asked.
"No," Shankel assured him.
ORGANIZATIONS representing KU unclassified professional staff and classified staff opposed the plan, said Tom Beisecker, chair of Senate Executive Committee. SenEx, the top faculty and student governance body, also opposed it.
Meanwhile, the council voted to preserve a system that provides campus departments and organizations with free parking passes. The passes are frequently used to aid delivery of packages or to take visitors on campus tours.
Black said critics of the free passes maintain that they have been abused by members of Student Senate.
"We believe many students are using the passes to drive to class," he said.
JASON MCINTOSH, a Student Senate representative on council, defended Student Senate's use of their passes, saying, "It's not abuse, it's heavy need."
He also said it would be impractical from a budgetary standpoint to charge a department or organization the proposed $1 fee every time one of the passes was used.
The biggest user of the special passes has been the Institute of Public Policy and Business Research, according to a one-week survey conducted in November. Student Senate ranked second in the survey.
Council approved several changes in the campus parking code, including measures that:
Allow campus access passes to be bought for $25 a semester or $15 a summer, instead of just $40 a year.
Cut the cost of carpooling by $10 per group. Groups will pay for a parking permit plus $10 for all vehicles in a pool except one, instead of paying for a permit and $10 for every vehicle in the pool.