Students from the area's two largest colleges said Thursday they plan to push for the adoption of legislation that would bar the State University of New York from imposing a parking fee.
A Senate version of the bill already has been adopted, and similar legislation currently is in the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee.
The Assembly bill is sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph T. Pillittere, D-Niagara Falls. But Susan Howard, Buffalo State College's new student government president, said opposition to the legislation by Assemblyman William B. Hoyt, D-Buffalo, is bottling it up in the Ways and Means Committee.
"He (Hoyt) has totally disregarded all our concerns," Ms. Howard said, pledging that the assemblyman would feel the impact of SUNY students' dissatisfaction at the voting booth this year.
Students say the parking fee, which was recently approved by college councils at 12 SUNY campuses and voted down or ignored by the rest, is nothing more than a "hunting license" that does nothing to ease the parking crunch or guarantee them a parking spot.
"On this campus, we have 6,600 parking spaces for 14,000 registered vehicles," said Kelly P. Sahner, UB student government president. "This is an unfair tax on students."
It now costs more to attend Buffalo State that it does UB, Sahner noted, because Buffalo State voted for the fee and UB indefinitely postponed a vote on the matter. Furthermore, the students contend that 12 campuses will only generate about $800,000 in revenue -- hardly worth what the students say is the anguish and inequity generated by the fee.
The Student Association of the State University of New York is calling for a moratorium on the parking fee and all other new administrative fees, which students say are nothing short of a disguised tuition increase.
Additional student fees could soon add as much as $500 to the cost of attending a state college or university, according to student association spokesman Todd Hobler.