The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Lack of parking affects students across campus

“I think at a certain point, we are still students who have to get to class…”
Many of NMSUs students parking lots are operating near or at capacity. Feb. 13, 2024.
Carlos Herrera
Many of NMSU’s students parking lots are operating near or at capacity. Feb. 13, 2024.

As students returned from winter break, an area of campus that saw the most action first, was the parking lots. This year, many students have been left to circle multiple lots across campus and wait in lines just to find a place to park their ride. 

According to New Mexico State University Parking & ID Services, the amount of total parking spaces on campus sits at 15,619. This includes residential spots for dorm students, all-permit parking spaces, faculty parking and other slots for special groups, including accessible and motorcycles.  

The parking office website states that while 7,900 parking spaces are occupied during peak hours of the day, there are still over 5,600 slots available for students to choose from. However, in an official poll conducted by The Round Up 89% of participants said they are having a harder time this year finding an available parking spot compared to previous years.  

Eight percent of respondents said they believe parking now is similar to what it was in the past, while 4% said they have not noticed any difference. However, frustration among students has built up.  

NMSU student Karla Soto said finding a reasonable spot is tough. 

“The lack of parking near your actual class is frustrating,” Soto said. 

Students spend many minutes looking for parking spaces each morning in lot 16 across the bookstore. Feb. 23, 2024. (David Castañeda)

Other areas where students expressed concern was the ratio of available parking spaces in staff labeled lots, as compared to all-permit and commuter student zoned parking areas.  

“It seems like there’s an increase in staff parking and a decrease in commuter parking,” one student said. Adding, “most of the free parking spaces for all permits are way too far from classes that students need.”  

So, what is driving the longer queues and fuller lots? The answer can be attributed to the number of students who are back for in-person classes.  

A preliminary enrollment report published in September 2023 from the NMSU system showed the Las Cruces campus saw a 3.7% enrollment increase over fall 2022, bringing the total amount of undergraduate students on campus to 14,794.  

First time freshman enrollment at the start of the 2023-2024 school year totaled 2,410, a 3.5% increase over fall 2022, making the class of 2027 one of the largest in recent history 

Director of Auxiliary Operations, Jacob Nevarez, said there was a 21% increase of all permits sold between fall 2022 and fall 2023. There was also an 8% increase in the number of commuter permits sold during the same time frame.  

Students stated that the full lots and longer queues have led them to take risks.  

While student parking lots are near capacity, staff parking lots have several vacant spaces. Feb. 19, 2024. (Carlos Herrera)

Junior biology major Kaylin Lashley mentioned she also had to take a risk to get to her classes on time. That risk was noticed by the NMSU parking office on the second day of school.  

“I had to park in the staff lot as I got there at 10 a.m., and all the commuter spots were full behind Corbett,” Lashley said. “My thoughts were frustrated because the faculty spots are never full.”  

Lashley stated when she returned to her vehicle, she noticed two citations. One for her wrongful parking, which she recognized, and one for her plates.

She mentioned that a few days prior, her license plate registration sticker had fallen off but if the parking police had run her plates, they would have seen that she renewed her plate sticker.  

The NMSU parking rules and regulations state that NMSU Police and Parking services can cite vehicles for expired plates, as it falls under a vehicle being “unregistered.” 

NMSU Police Department Lt. Nelson McGuire said while issuing citations for license plates has been done before, it was not as common as it may be now. He said there may have been some confusion within the parking office to those seeking resolutions if their license plates were cited.  

Empty parking spots, restricted to students, can be found all across campus lots. Feb. 23, 2024. (David Castañeda)

“It seems like it was something kind of newer that was starting to be enforced on a regular basis., that was maybe where there was some confusion, “McGuire said.  

The number of citations this year so far have remained the same as compared to years past, but there are more complaints McGuire mentioned.  

“I know that we have been receiving maybe some more complaints from different departments about their specialty reserved spaces, like what is reserved for their dean’s office or their visitors for that specific building of unauthorized people parking there,” he said. “I can’t say for sure if all those violators have been students, or guests of the University or faculty/staff as well parking where they shouldn’t.”  

McGuire said the NMSU Police Department will continue to meet with Parking Services office to ensure that there is clarity in citation enforcements and better the response to those seeking answers to their parking inquires.  

Both Lashley’s tickets were waived, which she said she was grateful for. However, she felt, as a student, there should be more warnings for first offenses. She also mentioned that students make decisions based on their priorities. 

“I think at a certain point, we are still students who have to get to class, and class is priority over parking, as much as they don’t want to hear it,” she said. 

A car in staff lot 42 surrounded by vacant spots. Feb. 23, 2024. (David Castañeda)

For those who are wondering if NMSU will address the parking issues on campus, there are changes in the works.  

The university is in the process of implementing a new parking master plan, which will involve a third-party contractor to make future changes to parking on campus, Nevarez said. Students will have the opportunity to provide their input  

“That’s what we are hoping for, is that students do voice their opinions and their concerns,” Nevarez stated. 

The NMSU Parking & ID Servies office said the goal is to have the third-party contractor nailed down by the end of the year so that input can be gathered, and future parking changes can be implemented.  

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About the Contributors
Noah Apodaca, Staff Writer

Noah Apodaca is a junior at New Mexico State University, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in broadcast, as well as a minor in government. This is Noah's first year with The Round Up. 

Born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Noah got his start in the media industry in 2022, when he joined KRWG-TV's News22 program as a writer, reporter and anchor. With News22, he has covered a wide range of topics, including traveling to the 2023 Conference USA Championship game in Lynchburg, Virginia. 

In addition to News22, Noah has worked with NMSU's journalism department’s online news publication, Kokopelli, KFOX14 in El Paso, Texas, and U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich.

In his spare time, you can catch Noah at the gym, at the airport fulfilling his love of travel, or at home streaming some Disney+ alongside his five dogs. He is ecstatic to join The Round Up team this year!

Carlos Herrera, Multimedia Specialist
Carlos Herrera is entering his second year at The Round Up as a Multimedia Specialist. He is currently a senior in his undergraduate degree in Information Communication Technology. Carlos is looking forward to this year in expanding his love for graphic design and perfecting his photography while capturing "those big Aggie moments". He enjoys being active in everything he does, and also enjoys spending time with those important to him in his downtime.
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

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