Letter to the Editor: Change at Renaissance not fair to students, faculty

I take strong issue with University Business Manager William Mallon’s contention that there is no room for students and staff in the Renaissance Parking Garage (“Changes in Renaissance Garage policy anger faculty,” Feb. 15).

While that may be true now, it is because the university has sold the parking spaces to tenants who have nothing to do with Northeastern.

The Renaissance Garage was built specifically for the Northeastern community. Is it fair to impose such a major change in policy in the middle of the year, when we’ve already paid our fees? Now, none of us can park in the garage from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless we pay hourly fees on top of what we’ve already paid.

It’s clear this is because of the desire to make money with the space. Mallon is being disingenuous when he says that there is no room for the NU community to park there because the space is filled. It is Northeastern that decided to rent out the garage spaces in the first place.

Furthermore, the way this was done reminds me of an older style of management at Northeastern, a university that made decisions with impunity and dictatorially without informing its own, a university that made global decisions without consideration of the effect upon its own community.

As a professor whose office is in and whose classes are held in Ryder Hall, and as a photographer constantly carrying equipment from my car to where I work and back, I can say that the decision to exclude me from parking in the Renaissance Garage has a large impact on what I can and cannot do.

Additionally, Visual Arts students driving to school have large studio projects due almost weekly. The new decision to exclude them from the garage has a large effect upon these students’ ability to bring their projects in or forces them to park in the Ruggles Circle, unload their cars, risk getting tickets, run back out and then drive away to park in some faraway lot.

The Behrakis Garage would be a viable solution, as it is close to Ryder Hall, but it is now always full by 8 a.m. So now we must park in the Columbus lot or the Columbus Garage. The Business Office’s callous and autocratic decision to stop us from parking in the Renaissance Garage has made my job, my colleagues’ jobs and students’ tasks more difficult to perform.

Finally, I have been at Northeastern since 1981 and I am now paying $780 a year to park on campus. I am paying this fee to be able to park my car to perform my responsibilities as a full professor in teaching, in research and in service to the university. I pride myself on giving back to my employer, taking my job seriously and being respectful of those I work with. In this instance, I get the distinct feeling that this respectful attitude is not reciprocal.

– Neal Rantoul is a professor in the Department of Visual Arts.

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