Chat with the chief: Ticketing the Torch

According to Ferris' Department of Public Safety, it is illegal for vehicles to be parked on campus walkways.
According to Ferris’ Department of Public Safety, it is illegal for vehicles to be parked on campus walkways. Photo by: Kira Poncin | Copy Editor

During the last week of classes, the Torch’s distribution manager was ticketed not once, but twice by Ferris’ Department of Public Safety while performing his weekly duty delivering the newspaper around campus.

He was charged $20 for each ticket for parking on the sidewalk, which is illegal. Well… sometimes.

The fact that vehicles park and drive on the sidewalks of campus every single day is not news to anyone. University vehicles, grounds maintenance vehicles and pizza delivery drivers are constantly parked on walkways.

In fact, on my way to my final lecture of the semester, I saw three cars on the side- walk between the Business Building and the Timme Center, one of which I actually had to dodge because it was driving straight towards me. That’s three infractions in less than half of a mile.

Nevertheless, I’ve never seen nor heard of any of these operators being ticketed. They boldly continue to break the same law as a person who has never been disciplined for doing so would.

To be clear, I don’t think that DPS is seek- ing out and targeting the Torch delivery staff. I do, however, believe that they are not affording the same leniency to the Torch delivery staff as they do to other vehicle operators performing a job.

This hypocrisy stands in the way of our right to distribute and disseminate news.

This freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment is not only vital to the Ferris State community, but to the country as a whole. Students need a voice on campus, and that voice must be widespread. To put up roadblocks impeding that right is damag- ing to the community.

Our distribution manager takes just a handful of minutes to complete his duty at each stop. He parks close to a building—in a designated delivery area as often as possible—removes old issues, and replaces them with new bundles hot off the presses. He’s in and out in seconds at some stops.

He does this on Tuesday evening, which is certainly not a busy time on campus. Nevertheless, his stack of parking tickets continues to grow.

Despite officially allowing FedEx and UPS unrestricted parking on sidewalks, and seemingly turning a blind eye to countless other vehicles, the law states that parking or driving on any campus sidewalk is illegal.

Our distribution manager promptly paid both tickets, so he’s not looking for a fight. We’re just looking for some solutions, because asking him to lug several heavy stacks of newspapers across parking lots is not a reasonable one.

Especially when he’s the only delivery person getting ticketed.