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Letter to the editor: Parking privatization supports Ohio State’s core mission

A pay meter at a parking lot on campus. Credit: Ris Twigg | Assistant Photo Editor

To the editor:

A recent letter to the editor about the university’s parking lease painted a picture that might have confused readers.

Allow me to share some facts.

Prior to the parking lease, all revenue from the university’s parking system supported campus parking and transportation. Now, we have millions of additional dollars each year to support academics.

Consider the academic priorities that have been funded through endowments created from the parking proceeds:

  •  More than 270 students, including more than 90 Eminence Fellows who received aid covering their full cost of attendance, received financial aid in the past year. This aid also includes funding for undergraduate research and professional student stipends.
  • 125 faculty members have been hired in the Discovery Themes, with another 58 positions in active recruitment. (Colleges provide half of the funding for these positions.)
  • $6.4 million in improvements to Sullivant Hall as part of the building’s renovation. Additional funding from this endowment will support upcoming Arts District projects.

The university received $483 million from the parking lease in 2012, all of which was invested alongside Ohio State’s endowment. Those endowments are now worth $564 million because of investment growth — and that is after distributing nearly $129 million to academic priorities and for continued support for the Campus Area Bus Service.

Critics might believe that we could have retained all the costs of operating parking and somehow redistributed the revenue to academics, but that’s just not reality. Actual students and faculty receive support today through the parking lease. We’re not in the parking business. Our mission is to do research and educate students. Both of these endeavors have significantly more support now because of the parking deal.

Sincerely,

Chris Davey

University Spokesman

6 comments

  1. And nothing to support campus parking and transportation, so the campus community must endure draconian enforcement and underfunded transportation. Thanks Chris!

  2. Frustrated Staff Member

    It’s great to see the parking lease is benefiting students and faculty. Of course, once again, the university staff get nothing but higher fees to pay for the privilege of working at this great institution.

  3. This is an attempt to obfuscate. The question with respect to the parking issue has nothing to do with the use of funds and everything to do with the cost of funds. What the trustees refuse to tell us is how they arrived at the decision to do the deal. What alternatives were there? How did the cost of the borrowing compare to the alternatives? Simple question: Why not just issue bonds secured by the parking revenues?

  4. An alumnus and Volunteer

    As a frequent user of the Cannon garage, I have found the elevators to be very unreliable and poorly maintained. If OSU owned them, they would work as well as those in the James.

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