PTS finds fake parking permits

Marcel Mayo

Four students total were caught with fake parking permits.

Fake parking permits were being used in the Pearce-Ford Tower and Barnes lots according to Jennifer Tougas, the director of Parking and Transportation Services.

There was another instance of a fake parking permit that didn’t follow the same pattern as the others, but where Parking and Transportation located the permit is uncertain. 

“It was probably about two weeks ago when we saw the first permit,” Tougas said.

This isn’t the first time a situation like this has happened.

“Every year we see altered permits, lost and stolen permits,” Tougas said.

Tougas said she is unsure of how long the permits were being used on campus before Parking and Transportation noticed. Tougas said students who take advantage of fake parking permits are doing so illegally.

Tougas said the fake parking permits came to her attention when Parking and Transportation noticed a different-looking permit placed in the wrong parking lot. The first car was booted for being in the wrong lot, and the student responsible was charged a $50 boot fee and given a $100 citation for falsifying a permit.

Using fake permits on campus is a code of conduct violation, Tougas said. Students who violate the code are referred to Judicial Affairs. Director of Judicial Affairs Michael Crowe then decides on disciplinary actions for those students.

The Herald reached out to Michael Crowe but has yet to receive a response in time for print.

Every school year, Parking and Transportation changes both the permits’ appearance and the security features that come with them. This helps determine which permits are valid or invalid.

Due to the fake permits’ similar visual traits and the students’ similar stories, Parking and Transportation took further action.

“We saw the first permit and went through that regular process. Then, the next week, we saw two more permits that had the same pattern,” Tougas said.

Tougas said Parking and Transportation sent an email to faculty and staff after it discovered more fake permits on campus.

“I think we found four of them in total before we sent an email out,” Tougas said.

Tougas said the email must have been effective because Parking and Transportation hasn’t found any more fake permits since the notice.

The purpose of the email was to alert students of how serious falsifying permits is and to notify them of the consequences.

Tougas said fake permits are not fair to students who are on the waiting list to park on campus. Parking and Transportation has been trying hard to shorten the list and address students’ requests for parking.

“We’re working through those waiting lists as quickly as we can,” said Tougas. “We’re constantly monitoring what parking is available so we can move people off the waiting list.”

Tougas said Parking and Transportation is still uncertain about who is distributing the fake parking permits.

“We don’t know who the individual was that was selling the permits, but once that’s in Judicial Affairs, it’s really up to them whether they go after that person too,” Tougas said.

Tougas said Parking and Transportation might use different methods for parking permits in the future.

“There are different technologies you can use,” said Tougas. “I was at the University of Georgia before I came here. We saw the same thing there; people were using fake decals.”

Tougas said although Parking and Transportation will continue to enforce the parking permit rules, finding a few fake parking permits isn’t a huge issue.

“It’s such a small fraction of what we see,” Tougas said. “It’s not such a rampant problem that we feel like we have to do something drastically different to prevent it.”