Students fork over $300K in fines

by Betsy Timbers | 11/7/97 6:00am

Students were fined in excess of $300,000 during the 1996-97 academic year, and more than half the money swelled the coffers of Parking Operations, according to data released at last week's Student Assembly meeting.

Parking Operations fined students $151,060, the Office of Residential Life fined $74,808, the Registrar fined $55,002, the Athletic department fined $46,878 and Safety and Security fined $3,775, according to the statistics, compiled by the Treasurer's Office.

Some students may be distressed by the size of the figures, but the department heads said money collected from students' fines helps them balance their budgets.

"If the fines did not come in, our budget would show a shortfall," Athletic Department Head Richard Jaegar said. "They are an integral part of our budget."

Last year, revenue from student fines constituted 35 percent of the Parking Operations budget, said William Barr, Associate Director of Administrative Services.

He said that without this income "the College would have had to come up with the funds to cover" shortcomings.

Barr said the Office of Parking Operations considers the amount of money it expects to raise from fines when calculating each year's budget.

The revenue generated from fines enables some departments, including athletics, to expand the number of programs it offers.

Jaegar said that, without the income from violations charges, the athletic department would not be able to offer as many activities and physical education options as it currently does.

In departments with budgets that only need to break even, such as Parking Operations, any excess revenue or credit is deposited into a fund used to support all of the College's departments, said Barr.

But Edwin Johnson, the College's associate treasurer, said he was not pleased by the departments' reliance on fines as a source of revenue.

"I do not think any department should feel particularly good about accumulating student fines," Johnson noted.

Jaegar said he thinks the charges will not change students' behavior because they are not seriously affected by the fines.

But Barr said the majority of parking violations are committed by first and second time offenders and very few students are ticketed six or seven times in a year.

Administrative fees encompass a variety of violations and infractions. Safety and Security can fine a student for using firecrackers, climbing on college buildings, or making excessive noise. The Dean of the College can fine students for being intoxicated.

Although the College lists all the violations for which a student can be fined, Dartmouth has no formal guidelines for determining the size of a fine, Johnson said. Each department uses a different system to decide how much to fine a student.

The Office of Parking Operations has a two-tier system which applies different fines to students and faculty, Barr said.

A student illegally parked in those parking lots closest to campus, will be charged $50 for the first violation, but a faculty or staff member who is illegally parked will receive a warning for the first violation.

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