by Nan Austin at The Modesto Bee
Parking fees will double for most at Modesto Junior College and Columbia College this summer. The first parking pass increases in 22 years were approved unanimously by the Yosemite Community College District Board.
Wednesday’s decision will raise charges starting with summer session:
• Student parking permits will increase from $7.50 for summer to $15; fall and spring semester permits will rise to $30 from $20.
• Daily parking fees at both campuses will double, from $1 to $2.
• Full-time staff permits will double, from $30 per year to $60.
• Part-time staff permits will remain $15 per semester.
• Motorcycle permits will remain $7.50 per semester.
The higher fees are expected to generate about $300,000 for added security around the lots and maintenance of parking areas, said Teresa Scott, executive vice chancellor of fiscal services.
“Those funds have been desperately short for years,” she told the board before the vote. Scott said the fees now rank at about 25 percent of the average for other junior colleges in the state.
Student parking fees for full semesters rose by 50 percent, held down to avoid a two-tier system for lower-income students who qualify for state tuition waivers and fee limits, she said.
In other business, the board conducted a second reading and unanimously approved a revision to its policy on free speech. The policy came under fire after a student was prevented from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on Constitution Day in September on the MJC East Campus.
The student, Robert Van Tuinen, with the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, filed a lawsuit against the district demanding it stop infringing on free speech rights.
The YCCD and Van Tuinen agreed to a stipulated extension in December, giving the district until Feb. 24 to make the changes. The new policy affirms the district’s support for free speech and civil discourse, and denotes grassy areas, walkways and other common areas as open to “expressive use.”