Graphic by Griffin Mancuso.

Cal Poly Humboldt issues parking citations to students living in vehicles


by Jillian Wells

On the morning of Nov. 13, students living in alternative housing such as vans, RVs, campers and motorhomes on campus awoke to parking tickets on their vehicles. The parking tickets each cost between $40-$53, with some students receiving multiple citations. 

The enforcement of parking regulations came 19 days after the university sent out an initial email, notifying students that they would be enforcing a previously overlooked policy that prohibits overnight camping.

 This decision to enforce this policy sparked community backlash and has gained national attention, as there was a Los Angeles Times reporter interviewing students this week. 

The citations issued to students outlined various violations, including “No Use of Vehicle for Living/Overnight” and “Beyond Designated Lanes.” Additionally, comments on the tickets highlighted specific infractions such as “windows being covered.”

Cris Koczera, the Interim Director of Risk Management & Safety, did not respond to requests about further clarification about the criteria for determining if a student is sleeping in a vehicle by press time.

Student Derek Batty lived in a vehicle on campus, but made the decision to move into temporary housing to avoid receiving a citation.

“I feel more homeless in this place [temporary housing] than I did before,” Batty said. “I’m grateful for it for sure, but I wish we just didn’t get kicked out.”

Batty also said that despite moving into temporary housing, he received a parking ticket on the morning of Nov. 13 because his windows were covered up. 

“They can’t prove that we’re sleeping in the vehicle based on having [the windows] covered,” said Brad Butterfield, vice president of the Alternative Living Club, in an impromptu meeting on Nov. 13.

 They expressed frustration and asserted that just because their windows are covered up isn’t evidence that they are sleeping in their vehicles. 

Ethan LeVering, an Associated Students (A.S.) delegate for the University Senate, pointed out a lack of consideration in the enforcement process.

“They did not knock on the vehicles, they did nothing to check if anyone was in there,” LeVering said. “They simply left the little ticket and ran off.”

The University Police Department (UPD) declined to comment. LeVering also criticized the university’s approach.  

“These students have not been given a presumption of innocence, which is outright un-American,” LeVering said.

Carrie White, a student who lives in their vehicle, emphasized the economic ramifications of the parking citations.

“That’s what they’re [Cal Poly Humboldt] working on, the economic punishment,” White said. “They know we don’t have any money, so they’re going to ticket us until we have no choice. They’ll break the bank before they break our will.”

Caleb Chen, another impacted student, expressed his concerns about the timing of the ticketing. He believes that the university is starting the citation process just before fall break to limit potential media coverage and keep the ticketing discreet.

“They could tow us at the beginning of fall break… to remove the vehicles silently while all the students were gone,” Chen said.

Chen added that while he appreciates the option of temporary housing, he’s not interested.

“At this point, it’s about making sure there’s a solution for future students and all their [Cal Poly Humboldt’s] solutions only go until December 18.”

Brad Butterfield is a member of The Lumberjack. He did not help write or edit this article.

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