OPINION: Fees are not accessible parking for all


Kaylee Stout/ The Sunflower

These signs are all over campus for students, staff, and vistors that are in need of parking assitance.

I know I may seem like a woman who just complains about parking.  However, I want to talk about another parking situation that I have experienced on gameday for the Wichita State men’s basketball team. 

Last semester me and one of my good friends that I work with pulled up to find media parking.The officer told us where it was and then proceeded to point to my placard and say, “You aren’t actually disabled right?”

I told him that even though that night I felt ok,I am disabled.. He rolled his eyes at the response of a young woman who on the outside appears to be fine. Of course I was annoyed by his comment but I decided to let it go due to feeling “decent” that night. 

 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis a little over two years ago. I experience symptoms every day but I can push past them fairly well. Some days I experience flare ups that make it extremely painful and difficult to walk long distances. Because of this, I registered for a handicap placard. 

However, this semester, I was planning to park up front in handicap parking for a game since my media parking permit isn’t in regular media parking. When I got ready to pull in a lady working the parking area told me it was ten dollars to park in handicap parking. I thought that was absolutely absurd. 

This is discrimination against people with disabilities whether it is written in the law or not. This was extremely frustrating to me due to experiencing a flare up and on top of that being a broke college student who’s paycheck had not been processed yet.

I found out through research that this has been a regulation since 2018 for ADA parking on game days. Former Sunflower Sports Editor Evan Pflugradt wrote a story about the new policy and interviewed Wichita State Senior Associate Athletic Director Brad Pittman for the story. Pittman said at the time that basketball is an entertainment product, and that is why the charge for ADA parking was necessary. I highly disagree with this statement. 

 Yes, basketball is an entertainment product. However, handicap fans that cannot park for free like able bodied people is an embarrassment to Wichita State University.  

As stated in Pflugradt’s article Pittman said “Is it fair that somebody donates $5,000/$10,000 to park there, and somebody can come up with a handicap permit and park for free?” Pittman said. “You can argue both sides of that coin.”

People do not get handicap parking to get ahead of the rest of the world. People with disabilities get parking permits because it is the only way they can successfully move and walk into an arena.  However, this is not just an issue at Wichita State. It is occurring at several universities. The University of Kansas charges $25 for ADA parking currently according to Pflugradt’s article.
Wichita State needs to wake up and realize that making people with disabilities feel like an inconvenience is absurd. People with disabilities need to have free parking privileges at athletic events just like others who do not have a disability. Imagine someone who is really excited to attend a basketball game.Now imagine they can’t get to the game without needing a close up parking spot. They then get there and find out they have to pay.  Therefore, getting into the game may be either extremely difficult or even impossible.

Trust me I do not live in a world where I think everything should be handed to me on a silver platter. I work hard for what I have, and I am not entitled to special privileges. I just want to be able to use my voice for those who cannot.


I want to make sure those with disabilities are on the same playing field to get an opportunity to enjoy and live life as much as possible with able bodied people.