New commuter lot leaves some students searching for free parking

016Many commuters were confused on the first day back for spring semester classes when they found that their usual secret parking location was being patrolled by Mississippi College Security.

The parking lot behind First Baptist Clinton’s activity building and across from Cup’s, where a good number of MC students park to avoid buying a decal, is now an official Mississippi College commuter lot. Students are having to either purchase a sticker for their car or find somewhere else to park their vehicle during class.

“We assessed the need for parking, and FBC was willing to allow us to partner with them on making the lot available to our faculty, staff, and students on an official basis,” said the Director of MC Public Safety Stephen McCraney.

As of now, the parking lot will be available for MC faculty, staff, and students Monday through Friday for classes and other events. However, the lot will be under First Baptist Clinton’s control and open to the public during the weekends, as well as during funerals, weddings, or other occasions. MC Security will help with regulating the space in those instances.

Because the space was originally not an official Mississippi College parking lot, MC was not able to use it for events or respond to situations that might have occurred in that space.

“We want to support students by monitoring the lots with safety patrols and respond to calls for service there as well,” said McCraney. “In the past the lot was private property and we did not have any jurisdiction there. With the agreement between FBC and MC, we will be able to provide security, maintain parking, and ensure the area is available to our students who need and want to park there.

Some students may be upset about now having to purchase a decal from security to park, but McCraney said that this new development is better because the space, “is now an official lot, and we can say that it is available to our students.  In the past, we could not make that claim.”

“I do think it is great that it officially belongs to Mississippi College, however, I thought it always belonged to us,” said Kylie Weeks, a MC student who commutes to class. “I have heard that it had some students upset who usually try to get by without purchasing a decal, but I think it’s only fair that every student purchases one. We, as students, all know that we are responsible for purchasing a decal if we plan to park on campus.”

Despite a new sign that designates the parking lot for MC use during weekdays, visitors to Cup’s, FBC, and Olde Towne will most likely try to park there anyway. Security may have a hard time enforcing the presence of only vehicles with the MC decal in this area, at least for the current semester.

And even with Mississippi College taking up more of the parking spaces around campus, those students determined to avoid paying for a decal will still find a way to cheat the system.

– Abbie Walker, News Editor


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