USM parking becoming a major issue among students


The University of Southern Mississippi amongst its many pros has one major con that a lot of students would highly agree on. Where in the world do we park? 

According to Assistant Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police, Rusty Keyes, there are currently 7,689 parking spaces on the Hattiesburg campus. However, in Fall of 2021, USM had 14,146 students enrolled for that semester. That leaves 6,457 students without a spot to park. You must take into consideration those who live on campus and do not drive back and forth to classes as well as those who do not have vehicles. Another key factor is students who commute back and forth. These students are not necessarily always there. However, from talking with various people, students are often late to class because they are not able to find a decent parking spot.  

An example that is extremely bad would be the Liberal Arts Building’s parking lot. Often, you will notice vehicles waiting on the outskirts hoping for a car to move to gain that spot. I personally have watched vehicles circling lots and then leaving the campus altogether. Everyone wants to push for you to get an education but doesn’t always give you the resources to make it happen. Something so simple as rking has become a big issue. This issue is not nearly a hassle for faculty and staff though. They have designated parking as well. Yet their parking is only for them, usually up closer to the buildings and identified with green lines.  

Each student who wishes to use the parking places on campus is required to pay 162 dollars for an annual parking permit or 90 dollars for a semester only permit. Then you have those lousy parking meters.  

“Parking meter and QR Code spaces are not intended for all day parking by Parking Permit holders. The spaces were designed as temporary parking for short-term business at the University,” said Keyes.  

The revenue that is brought in from parking tickets funds Transit Services and improvement to parking projects.  

“I welcome suggestions for improvements either by email or phone. I also would be happy to meet with any campus community member to discuss parking,” said Keyes.