HOPEWELL, MI – Amid widespread Southern Michigan University student complaints over the new system in place to register for parking decals, the Hopewell Democrat-Tribune interviewed students and university staff for their perspectives on the situation.

In contrast to past years, when parking passes were available for purchase over a period of weeks, a new system was tried this summer. “SMU Parking Services told everyone that we could get passes on August 1,” said Misty Davies, an art history major and Delta Qoppa Gamma pledgette. “But they also said that spaces were limited and it was first-come, first-serve. Something about reduced parking spaces due to them building the new parking garage? So I went on their site at 12:01 AM and all I got was an error screen. And then it crashed my computer.”

“I was knocked over by the shockwave from their servers exploding, and I was half a mile away,” said SMU sophomore Wyatt Johnson of the outage. “I mean, they must have known that the parking server wasn’t exactly the Google Datadrome, right? What did they expect when 30,000 people tried to get parking stickers at once?”

“It’s a travesty,” agreed Deanna Cline, a masters student in Prehistoric Literature. “I’m a commuter student, and there are always more of us than there are spots. Even when I have a pass I have to circle the parking lot like a great white and stalk people with their keys out for 45 minutes to get a spot. And now I might not get one because Parking Services screwed up?” Asked why she would spend 45 minutes circling a lot instead of parking in one of the Remote Lots and taking a 15-minute bus ride to main campus, Cline would only say “shut up.”

Mitchell Sykes, General Secretary of the SMU Parking Services, defended his organization’s response to the crisis. “I can assure you, and everyone who might be reading, that there is no crisis. We have plenty of parking spaces to go around, and we have instituted a new phased purchasing policy in which every day this week is designated for a certain group of people to buy passes to reduce the server load.” Asked why Parking Services had not implemented a phased purchasing policyt to begin with, Skykes responded that there had been no way to predict that virtually all faculty, staff, and students would want to buy parking passes. “I can also assure your readers that there is no parking space shortage, provided that you are not an undergraduate, graduate, commuter, faculty, or staff driver,” Sykes added.

The SMU Parking Services site remains unreachable as of press time, producing a blue screen of death on Democrat-Tribune computers, in one case causing a machine to smoke violently and in another resulting in the mild explosion of an older Compaq. “Even though they should have only a fraction of the people applying at once, their system still can’t handle it,” said Edmond Wilton, a short-order frycook at the Grizzly Cafe. “I hope whoever made the decision gets fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun.”

At press time, SMU Parking Services could offer no timetable for restored service, insisting instead that everything was working properly. When asked about advice for those who had tried and failed to acquire a parking permit due to the system outage, Sykes replied “Everything is fine. Nothing is ruined. If you can’t get a parking pass despite our best efforts, lace up your walking shoes, because you’re going to need them.”

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