Yesterday I broke the story about how CMC's administration was unjustly banning all freshmen from having cars on campus, thanks to Patricia Ingrassia CMC '13. The CMC Forum picked it up and confirmed (again) what I had already confirmed. (Hey Abhi runs a tight ship, OK?)
Later this evening, I'll be creating a Facebook group with George Posner CMC '12 with some draft of this initial letter. Can we count on your support?
We, the members of this group and the undersigned, believe that the recent decision to ban freshmen from having cars on campus is wrongheaded and needs to be seriously reexamined for at least the following reasons.
1. Many CMC freshmen applied to CMC with the implicit (and sometimes explicit) understanding that they would be able to have cars on campus. Changing the policy after some of them have been accepted and have agreed to matriculate amounts to an unfair bait-and-switch.
2. While it’s true that some other liberal arts colleges curtail freshmen driving privileges on campus, CMC is not one of those schools and shouldn’t set its policies based upon what other colleges do. Unlike Williams,
3. Although it is trendy, Zipcar is not a credible alternative. At $7 an hour, it is decidedly pricey even for the more affluent students. To put it in perspective, starting wages for an on campus job is around $8.50. Zipcar gobbles up most of a student’s hourly wage, assuming he only uses the car for a one hour trip. Even
4. As any good CMC econ student knows, there are a whole lot of potential policy ideas that could guarantee that the students who value their parking spots more get those spots, without unduly harming freshmen students. Whenever demand rises greater than supply, you raise the price of the good supplied. The current administration is seeking to reduce supply by fiat. Were it to be inclined, CMC's administration has other options it could consider, such as the following:
- It could increase the price for registering cars on campus for all students, or have a differing payscale for each class.
- It could actually tow and enforce violations of parking permits rather than just ticketing cars it knows won't repay..
- It could hold a lottery for some freshmen students who want to have cars.
- It could create an overseeing board made up of students and administrators that would make determinations as to which freshmen students might have need of a car for family, work, or other reasons.
- It could allow CMC freshmen to register one car together.
- It could work with our neighboring colleges or the local community to see if additional parking spots might be had.
Insofar as we can tell, none of these proposals were even considered. Barring implementing some other solution, we would like a written guarantee from the Dean of Students Office or other relevant department that once the Kravis Center is built, the default policy will be to allow freshmen to have cars on campus. In the interim, CMC should change its admissions literature to guarantee that students are not given a false impression of what their freshmen year might look like.
Haste is needed. We fear that hard working, successful students will look elsewhere when applying to college and that that will adversely affect educational opportunities for all of us. In short, CMC cannot encourage its students to be entrepreneurial and cut off one of the major sources of risk and reward, the LA metropolitan area. CMCers rightly decry how the college can sometimes become "a bubble." Let’s not make it more of one.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section and we’ll be sure to add more.