Everyone makes mistakes and Parking Operations at WCU is no exception. Luckily, the Student Government Association’s traffic court offers redemption.
Traffic court is made up of eight students in the judiciary branch of SGA. Their main responsibility is to reverse unfair parking tickets received by students.
Students who wish to dispute their ticket have the option to appeal online or in-person.
Online appeals are sent directly to chief justice Alyssa Moreau. According to Moreau, SGA receives about 30 appeals a week, three to five of those being in-person. When receiving an online appeal, Moreau can see what is written on the ticket, any comments left by the ticket writer, if the student has an active parking permit, a picture of the offense and any prior citations the student has received. She uses this along any written statement from the student to determine whether to reverse the citation or not.
When an in-person appeal is received, the entire traffic court reviews the same information as the online appeal, and the student is brought in to discuss their citation and answer any questions the court may have for them. Afterwards, the student is dismissed, and the court further discusses the case and votes whether to reverse or uphold the citation. Students will receive a decision via email 24 to 48 hours after the vote.
According to Simon Gugerli, clerk of court, both the court and the student benefit more from in-person appeals. “A lot of the time it just helps to have you in-person so we can understand, and we can ask questions if we’re confused about anything,” said Gugerli.
Gugerli understands how intimidating it can be for students when there’s only one of them and eight justices. “It’s not meant to be intimidating, it’s just we have to have multiple voices to make sure it’s not biased in any way,” said Gugerli.
Another way traffic court avoids bias is by having justices abstain from a case if they know the person appealing their ticket. According to Gugerli, every justice has had to abstain at some point.
Both Moreau and Gugerli agree the best part of being on traffic court is being a bridge between students and parking operations. They both enjoy hearing students’ voices and assisting as much as they can. “Whether we reverse or uphold, we do try and help students,” said Gugerli.
In addition to ticket appeals, traffic court has other opportunities to assist students as well as parking operations. Moreau recalls the time she assisted in changing the Judaculla parking lot from commuter to residential. She appreciates how this was able to give more parking for on-campus students and reduce parking offenses.
Gugerli enjoyed the ride-alongs that parking operations offered traffic court. According to him, it was a good way to understand what goes into their decision when giving out tickets, and he was able to witness interactions with students.
“It’s really unfortunate to hear their stories of how they’ve been berated and treated by students. It really sucks because they’re people too,” Gugerli said.
According to Gugerli, there have been appeals refused due to the way students treated the person giving them their citation.
Moreau believes the most important way a student can prepare for their appeal is by being kind and professional when filling out their appeal and addressing the court. Though it will not change the outcome, the justices are students too and want to help however they can.
Students interested in challenging a citation must visit WCU’s citation portal. It is available through myWCU or at wcuparking.t2hosted.com. Students must enter their ticket information and select if they would like to fill out an online appeal or have an in-person appeal. Students may file an appeal within seven days of receiving the ticket.