For some students, it sounded like an early Christmas present, but within minutes it was more like an early April fool’s joke.
In a campus-wide email, the TCU Police told students with parking tickets that if they brought in non-perishables the department would eliminate up to two parking violations.
The department was trying to give a boost to its effort in “Frogs Feed the Fort,” competition, in which departments across campus vie to see who can collect the most non-perishables for a food drive that benefits the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
But the offer was snatched back before students could make it the grocery store.
Jenna Quirk, a junior marketing major, received two parking citations within the past week. Although she was planning to appeal her tickets, this proposition came in the knick of time.
“I was planning on leaving for Kroger to get cans right after I received the email,” Quirk said. “I can’t really afford my parking tickets right now and had been praying for something to alleviate the financial burden of the tickets.”
But nine minutes after the initial email was sent, another email hit students’ inboxes. This one retracted the offer and apologized for the miscommunication.
“I felt played,” Quirk said. “I was so overjoyed about this opportunity, and when they took their offer back, I was extremely disappointed. Why would they make that offer if they weren’t able to follow through with it?”
Quirk wasn’t the only TCU student upset, either.
DayJus Hill, a sophomore communication studies major who also has two citations, was planning on partaking in the food drive as well. She said he was even planning on bring more than the maximum of four non-perishables mentioned in the first email.
“I was so grateful for the opportunity,” Hill said. “When I received the second email, I was upset. Whoever sent the email should have made sure everything was intact before sending it. That shows the lack of organization in the police department.”
Parking tickets can easily put a dent in student’s wallets, with prices ranging from $50 to $100. Many students complain that they are forced to park in places that might result in a citation because TCU lacks adequate parking spaces.
“There’s definitely not an adequate amount of space,” said Marilyn Downing, a senior political science major. “Students are unjustly penalized if they park in the wrong spot when they have no other options”
Downing agrees that the police department should uphold the offer it made to the student body.
TCU Assistant Police Chief Robert Rangel apologized for any miscommunication.
“We’re sorry that we got everybody’s hopes up high,” Rangel said. “We should’ve clarified the rules and run that by the people who were coordinating [the program] to make sure they would be okay with that type of public relations initiative.”
Although this specific offer isn’t viable, a possibility for citation forgiveness programs in the future are not completely out of the picture, Rangel said.