By Conway Lynch
Contributing Writer

It all started the first week of classes – when I received that flimsy 3-by-5-inch piece of plastic. A piece of plastic that I filed forms for, paid an exorbitant $50 for and eventually waited in line for.

Right after receiving my parking decal, I thought to myself, “This is a nice upgrade.” I was naïve, charmed by the thin, minimalist design. I wondered why public safety bothered with the modernization. Perhaps it was less expensive to produce.

Returning to my car – fearing the parking police already had me in their sights – I tried picking off the old decal. It wouldn’t budge. I dug my fingernails into it. I pushed my debit card under the glue. Not even a barrage of sticker-related verbal insults worked. I needed something serious.

Aha! Buried under a pile of NOS-energy cans and stained syllabi, I found my ice scraper.

After five minutes of frantic scraping, I was left with a sticky smear.

Example of a failed sticker removal – Photo by Samantha Paine, The Keystone

I carefully peeled the wax paper away from my new decal, revealing four diagonal cuts in the plastic. “These better be on purpose,” I thought.

Seated in the passenger side, I started my approach, the sticker balanced on my fingertips. Holding my breath, I touched the corner to the glass. In an instant, the entire decal tore in half.

I bellowed expletives that are not appropriate for The Keystone nor any parking lot.

I became a sticker surgeon, determined not to waste another $50. Sweat dripped from my brow, and my hands trembled as I tried to reconstruct something resembling the former modern art masterpiece. Picasso came to mind.

I did everything I could. I would be riding with this sad, jagged patchwork for the rest of the year.

Broken, reeking of sweat and filled with anguish, I looked out past the adhesive smudged glass onto the horizon. Was I the only one who could not affix a parking pass?

The next morning, I wandered the KU parking lots, analyzing every windshield I passed, looking for damaged decals. People started to stare. The decal was pushing me to dissociation, but I was not alone. Nearly half the decals I saw were torn, and some drivers offered comments.

“So cheap. It’s horrible. It ripped in, like, four places,” said senior Mariel Cordero. “It’s a damn puzzle.”

“Looks like s–t in my window because I tried to put it back together,” said senior Racheal Pietropolo.

“Whoever designed this thing needs to be terminated and never allowed to design anything ever again,” said senior Tyler Nicholas.

Mangled end result of sticker application – Photo by Conway Lynch, The Keystone

And, if you are wondering, I did contact KU Public Safety Associate Director Anne Reel, who said, “We changed to a material that would not allow for the unauthorized transfer of the permit [to a different vehicle.]”

The change certainly solves this issue considering it is nearly impossible to apply it the first time let alone subsequent applications.

It is a travesty that students are expected to pay $50 for a piece of sticky, plastic garbage. These parking passes are meant to be simple. Something we pay for to avoid a hassle, but they are nothing but a hassle. There are three clear responses KU can take from here: 1) refund all monies involved, 2) replace the parking passes or 3) set up a support group on campus for those of us affected.


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