I recently attended the parking forum that was
hosted by the parking and transportation services
office (PATS). Given the current opinion of
this office on campus, I was excited to see them
reaching out to the community at large and solicit
direct and continuous feedback. The point of
this letter is not my or anyone else’s hatred/love
of the parking on campus. I am more concerned
with surprising attitude that continues to be displayed
by a group of people who don’t seem to
understand that in the end, they should answer
to the students. The attitude that was displayed
was not one of welcoming questions and discussion.
It seemed clear that a decision on the ‘best’
path had been decided well before the forum.
“You need to get off your high horse.” A direct
quote from one PATS employee I spoke to. My
high horse? Try my high cost. Yearly tuition for
an undergraduate is $25,362. While I have grown
accustomed to PATS not listening to me, actually
dressing me down for expressing my opinion
and concern is not only disconcerting but
highly unacceptable to me as a customer of this
institution. This is especially true in the context
of where I was. PATS hosted an open forum at
which only 2 actual employees were present (my
count, they had hired consultants to help) and
responded rudely to feedback?
“Are you calling me a liar?” Another direct
quote from one PATS employee I spoke to. No I
wasn’t calling you a liar. I was asking how PATS
carried out the parking audit. It was brought up
as evidence supporting PATS’ point of view and
showing how heavily utilized all lots are. PATS
provided a single number as representative of
the usage of each parking lot. However, when
queried, this employee responded angrily to
any inquisition of methodology, level of data
collected, sample size, etc. The T in RIT is for
Technology. We are loud and proud of our heritage
as people who believe in and are educated
in math and science. PATS used data they have
collected, but refuse to tell us how it was collected,
or even show us the data. It makes it
very hard for us to accept your conclusion when
data is treated so secretly. Why is this information
not publicly published? If PATS actually did
the audit, they should publish the actual data!
When a response to inquiry is defensive and
rude, people assume the worst.
I’ll close with one more observation. I came to
discuss things with the PATS office; I did not
come to listen to your employees complain
about how hard their job is. Unfortunately, in
the real world, “we’re trying” or “it’s hard” are
not acceptable answers. We don’t use those answers
on coops; you shouldn’t use them here.
Customer service and treating students like
competent adults will go a lot further than you
think. That would start with a reasonable response
to this letter.
Fifth year Mechanical Engineer
Forgive me for being a few weeks behind your
current issue. As I scrolled through the February
22, 2008 Reporter, I stopped suddenly at the mention
of my dear old alma mater. No, not RIT.
This is the part where I admit I’m an impostor—I
don’t actually go to RIT. What caught my attention
was the letter to the editor about the mother
of all stereotypical “big state schools,” Penn
State. As for my ties to RIT: my boyfriend is a Tigers
grad student (computer science, of course!),
so I make frequent trips up to Rochester.
I love my school with all my heart. I bleed blue
and white, never miss a football game, and own
more Nittany Lions gear than I care to admit on
the pages of this magazine. But when I visit RIT,
I experience a whole other piece of the puzzle
I feel is missing from my college experience: a
sense of belonging.
I’m a neuroscience major who almost went to
art school. I’ve been taking American Sign Language
classes for two semesters now, and I’m
really interested in Deaf culture. I’ll put the icing
on the cake and admit I’m an avid gamer, and
would probably drop out of school to play Settlers
of Catan day and night, if it didn’t mean
living in my parents’ basement.
RIT is a melting pot of everything I love. I can
sit in your trendy library café decorated with
vintage furniture and student artwork while
overhearing animated debates about the latest
Firefox release. NTID students are signing everywhere,
and nobody’s afraid to walk around
with binary messages on their shirts. It’s like
every niche I love has found a home at RIT.
I don’t think I would go as far as to say Penn
State is “a whole flippin’ wheat field” of “casual
sex, marijuana and alcoholism,” but they definitely
have their place. Yet, as a person who isn’t
into any of the above, I still haven’t caught on
to what’s so desirable about the typical college
experience. I guess it’s your call—an indie-filled
Friday night, catching a movie at the Little Theatre,
or an awkward Saturday morning, waking
up on the beer-stained couch of a frat.
Like I said, I really do love my alma mater. But
there are parts of RIT that you can’t capture at
a big state school; those parts of me will always
feel a little lost here at Penn State.
Third year Neuroscience, Penn State University
To Send Letters
Letters can be sent via form. Reporter will not
print anonymous letters.
Note: Opinions expressed in Letters
to the Editor are solely those of the
author. Reporter reserves the right to
edit submissions on the basis of content,
length, grammar, spelling, and style.
Letters are not guaranteed publication.
Submissions may be printed and
reprinted in any medium. Reporter will
not run responses to letters that are
responding to a letter.