The week after classes went online at El Camino College, President and Superintendent Dena Maloney announced via email that the college campus would be closed to the public in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order.
Los Angeles County as well as cities neighboring Torrance followed suit with similar regulations in lieu of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While these precautions are in the best interest of public health and safety, officials need to give students refunds for campus services that are no longer in use.
Given ECC students have not been able to use parking lots since campus closed on Thursday, March 19, and will likely not be able to do so for the rest of the semester, The Union’s editorial board is calling on ECC administration officials to issue refunds for student parking permits within the next month.
After over a month of online classes and students not being able to visit campus, ECC administration officials are falling behind surrounding community college institutions when it comes to service refunds.
Pasadena City College, Santa Monica College, Long Beach City College and Cerritos College are all issuing either partial or full refunds on parking permits. Glendale Community College has gone a step further to also offer the option to extend current parking permits to the fall 2020 semester.
Furthermore, all nine colleges part of the Los Angeles Community College District have also issued partial refunds for parking permits.
As it stands now, ECC is the only community college in its area to not yet offer parking permit refunds to students. At the very least, administration officials should gauge whether they are meeting students’ needs as surrounding colleges continue to do so.
Since campus parking lots are off-limits for three out of the four months of the spring 2020 semester, ECC students should get a refund for the three months they are not allowed to park on campus. Hence, a 75% refund on the $35 parking permit — which amounts to about $26 — is a fair, proportional solution.
While $26 may not sound like a lot of money, it can make a difference for families and students barely making ends meet. $26 is enough money to cover at least part of one grocery trip and can be used to purchase essentials.
With economic impacts on employment and businesses throughout California and Los Angeles County, there is hardly anyone who has not been personally affected by the coronavirus in some way.
The Union’s editorial board understands that this may be a stressful time for administrators, however, as Newsom commonly says in his press conferences, there’s a need for everyone to meet this moment.
ECC administrators should heed that advice.