The following is a reprint of a letter presented to the Medford City Parking Commission by Matthew Vorderstrasse, Student Body President of Rogue Community College’s Riverside campus.
To the City Parking Committee:
Riverside Campus Students today are faced with a dilemma. Many are displaced workers who have lost their jobs, benefits, and the security of being able to provide adequate support for their families. Most have come back to school in order to receive the training needed to return to the workforce as a viable asset to the community.
The transition from worker to student is not always an easy move to make. It is full of financial insecurity and stress from the home as well as the academic front, yet they continue to show up, and move foreword with their education because the college is the only place where they are finding support. They do this even despite the cuts to the funding from our state. In our situation, the college is placed in a position where they are taking in our unemployed, and training them without any additional funding from the state, or the classroom space to accommodate.
Mixed in with all the struggles of student life lives another issue on our urban campus and this issue is parking. As it stands today students are having to play hop scotch from city block to city block as they go from class to class. Most students are aware of the parking structures made available to students, and there are students who utilize them. We have other students who utilize the buss pass that the college offers. Yet, we are a commuter campus and many of our students cannot afford the costs of the permit or the current cost of the parking ticket that the city issues.
We can all agree that reforming downtown parking in Medford is needed, but how can we do this without forcing students out of downtown? Students make up a good majority of the downtown foot traffic, and we do bring a certain amount of business to our neighboring food vendors. Yet, many students will not be able to afford the increase of the parking ticket, or the term parking permits for parking in downtown lots. The way it goes today is that many of us depend on federal student aid for survival, and the ones that don’t are forced to pay out of pocket for education costs that are not cheap. Students feel that they are being hit enough in life just for being students, and all that they ask is that the city thinks of them as well.
There is a proper solution for this, and the Student Government of Riverside Campus would be honored to assist if needed.
Student Body President