Unexplained Denial of Parking Appeal Raises Concerns and Questions

Elissa Sanci

After trudging through the snowy weather after a three-hour class, one University of New Haven graduate student returned to his car to find a soggy ticket plastered to the windshield of his car. He angrily read the charges—“Faculty Only Parking,” it said—and, after noticing he wasn’t parked in a faculty only zone, decided he’d apply for an appeal.

Photo By Samantha Mathewson
Photo By Samantha Mathewson

This graduate student, who wished to remain anonymous, arrived at UNH just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28. After circling the parking lots for a few minutes, he found parking in the Library Lot—Lot P4—which, according to the 2013-2014 Parking Regulations, is marked green for faculty, staff and commuter students.

“There’s only five or six reserved spaces for faculty and staff,” he said. “I looked at the parking regulation map after I got my ticket just to make sure that I wasn’t blind.” He continued on, saying he didn’t understand why he got the ticket; he has a commuter sticker and was in an appropriate spot.

The student appealed his parking ticket that night. On Feb. 11, he received an email from the UNH Police Department stating that his “Parking Appeal for the ticket listed has been denied by the Board of Appeals.” There was no explanation as to why his appeal hadn’t been upheld.

“I would have no problem paying the ticket if they’d give me the reason why I was wrong,” he said. “I just want an answer as to why I got a ticket where the parking regulation map says I should be able to park.”

After his appeal was denied, he emailed Julie Carbonella, the Administrative Coordinator of Campus Police, asking for answers.

“I have recently submitted a parking ticket for an appeal and received this message below,” he wrote, forwarding the previous email with the denied appeal. “Where might I find the reason for the appeal decision?”

Her response email was one line. “Once the decision has been made, it is final.” He replied once more, asking again for the reason for the decision, in which she replied, “They do not give a reason. The decision is final.”

This did not sit well with the graduate student, who has always had good relations with the university. “I’ve been at UNH for seven years, and I’ve never had an issue with parking,” he said. “This is my first parking ticket, and I don’t even deserve it.”

The following day, he visited the campus police department in person and asked one of the officers for more information; however, none was disclosed to him. “Talking to CP is literally a dead end,” he said. “They aren’t customer service orientated at all. As an undergrad, I feel like I always got an answer, but as a graduate student, resources seem minimal.”

50/50

Appeals are filed online at unhparking.newhaven.edu, under the “appeal tickets” tab. However, there isn’t exactly a Board of Appeals, despite what the email sent to the graduate student appealing a ticket would assume. Together, Chief Mark DiLieto and Assistant Chief Donald Parker review the appeals, and there isn’t a rubric followed when they decide what tickets get appealed and which don’t.

“We’re very liberal when it comes to appeals,” DiLieto said. Most times, he said, if he denies one person’s appeal, he’ll uphold that same person’s next appeal because he “wants to cut them some slack.”

Other times, DiLieto said he’ll look at a person’s record to see whether or not they’ve gotten tickets before. If they haven’t had any tickets in the past, he says he’ll uphold the appeal, but issue a warning along with it.

“The parking here is so aggravating, I understand that,” DiLieto said. “Our main goal is for compliance. We don’t want to ticket anyone but the only way to get compliance is to come down hard on everyone.”

DiLieto pulled up an example of an appeal that was emailed to him. The driver who filed for the appeal knew that he was parked in a spot he shouldn’t have been parked in, and admitted to it in his appeal. However, DiLieto said “this case could go fifty-fifty. He shouldn’t be parking in the spot he parked in, but it’s his first offense, so I might cut him some slack.”

DiLieto admitted “it would be better to put an explanation” as to why an appeal was denied, and said he normally types in a reason why. However, when a student files a report that consists of complaints about the lack of parking, DiLieto says he will deny the request without explanation.

However, the lack of parking was not mentioned when this graduate student appealed his ticket. “This ticket states that I was in violation due to “Faculty Only Parking,” which was not that case. The space was not labeled as such. Please void this ticket as it was improperly issued,” read the appeal.

After speaking with the Charger Bulletin about the graduate student’s denied appeal, DeLieto chose to “undo” the previous denial and uphold the appeal.

Parking Rules

Parking has always been a point of contention at UNH and is always a topic of heated discussion. All parking rules and regulations can be found both online, under parking on the UNH website, and in pamphlet form, available at the Campus Police station.

Overflow parking is provided at North Campus and St. Paul’s parking lot. A shuttle service is also provided to and from campus to the overflow parking areas.

A ticket that isn’t paid will eventually be added onto student accounts with the Bursar’s office. A hold will be placed on the account until all tickets are paid. If a student has three or more unpaid tickets and receives another, that student’s car will be towed at the expense of the owner.