SGA red flags red parking permits for president and VP

Nicole Byrne

The Student Government Association voted against using funds from the SGA budget to purchase red parking permits for President Joseph Shepard and Vice President Taben Azad. The bill failed 15-17 with 2 abstaining for President Shepard’s permit, and then failed 11-19 with 3 abstaining when voting for Vice President’s Azad’s.

 “While I do think it is the university’s place to fund this permit for Shepard, I don’t think it should come from the Association’s funding,” Senator Grace Sirois said. 

The cost of each permit is $650, making the total cost $1300.

WSU’s administration has paid for these parking passes for the past 11 years. This summer, Shepard received a call telling him that the privilege was being taken away.

A red parking permit helps to ensure that the president and vice president are able to attend all of their SGA related meetings in a timely fashion. Shepard estimates that he attends about 36 meetings per week.

Newly sworn in Veteran Senator Thomas Lezniak was in favor of funding the permits.

“The Association shouldn’t have to pay for this,” said Senator Lezniak. “But Bardo changed the rules and it’s an expenditure we must make because it’s the right thing to do.”

There were some passionate supporters of the bill.

“If anyone deserves a reserved parking spot on campus, it should be President Shepard,” said Senator Ian Englebright. “I will even donate my own money.”

Several senators suggested that yellow permits in lieu of red ones would be an adequate compromise.

“I think that both the President and Vice President need to be on campus,” said Senator Zubair Khan. “But for $650 each, I don’t think it’s necessary for us to spend that amount of money when a yellow permit would do the job.”

When asked if he would support the bill if it was revised to have SGA fund yellow parking permits for Shepard and Azad, Khan Khan said that he would.

Yellow permits cost $150 each, saving SGA $1000 as compared to purchasing red permits.

Despite losing this benefit, Shepard remains committed.

“It’s very helpful, but I’m extremely passionate about what I do,” Shepard said. “You could take every privilege away from me and I will still do my job.

“If I find I need to pay for a permit out of my own pocket, I will.”