Hayes: How you definitely should not pay for a parking ticket


Brian Hayes

598 nickels and 2 Canadian nickels used to pay for a parking ticket.

Six-hundred nickels, 90 crumpled-up dollar bills, 50 dimes, 20 quarters and two Canadian nickels — that’s how much it took to set Financial Operations over the edge and land me with a summons to meet with Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Despite being green and yellow lots, the second and third floors of our newly-minted parking lot are enforced 24 hours a day, instead of open parking after 5 p.m. I did not know this and was fined $25 for parking there without a permit.

I appealed the ticket online and lost. I now know I was wrong. That’s fine. But as one final act of protest against our campus’s terrible parking system, I opted to pay in nickels.

I cracked open my R2-D2 piggy bank and sorted out all those five cent pieces, so I could pay my fine.

On the second floor of Jardine Hall with six pounds of nickels in a Ziploc bag, I felt much better about parting with my money.

The two Financial Operations employees weren’t as happy about the 600 nickels.

In the process of parking in the lot outside of Elliott Hall and walking to Jardine to pay, I was ticketed again.

Again, I was wrong. I am willing to accept my punishment $25 at a time.

With my parking luck running out, it was time to begrudgingly invest in a parking pass. Even though I only have two classes this semester, which have already ran me nearly $5,000.

I came back after paying my previous ticket less than an hour later with 90 crumbled ones, $5 in quarters, and $5 dimes.

Brian Hayes
A Ziplock bag full of crumpled up dollar bills and change used to pay for a parking pass and parking ticket.

Again, not willing to go quietly into that full parking lot, I brought lower denominations as an act of protest.

I will concede my money but I will not concede my principles. You may take my money by the tens of thousands but I don’t have to make it easy to take more.

Financial Operations wasn’t having it this time. An employee informed me she would file a complaint with Student Conduct for bringing wadded-up ones and change.

Maybe if I had paid in one of the designated free speech zones it would’ve been acceptable. At least I was paying my fines.

I was never anything less than polite and courteous to Financial Operations. I never raised my voice, never made snide comments.

Student Conduct values responsibility, inclusion, integrity, and citizenship. I actively try to embody my own set of principles that happens to coincide with WSU’s standards.

I always act responsibly. I always accept people regardless of differences. I always act honestly. I am an active participant in this community. I have dedicated myself to documenting student life at this university with this great newspaper.

Yet, I still have to meet with student conduct at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 14 because my means of paying my fines was annoying or inconvenient to Financial Operations.

I love this university even with all its flaws. I’m Shocker proud, but you know what’s annoying and inconvenient to me? Paying $75 a semester for a parking permit and still not being guaranteed a parking spot on campus. That $75 gets you nothing.

My first year at WSU, I paid for a parking pass only to still find myself arriving an hour early, hoping and praying for a spot. I often ended up parking across 17th Street and dodging traffic just to get to class. Is that worth $75? No.

Parking has been an issue since time immemorial, but luckily, the university has found a way to squeeze just a little bit more money out of us every semester.

The sooner we collectively decide to stop playing by the parking rules, the sooner they can no longer milk even more money out of us.

The moral of this story is you definitely shouldn’t pay your parking tickets in nickels. It would be a real shame if it weren’t easy for them to take your hard-earned money.