The dissatisfaction over the loss of more parking spaces has generated a lot of discussion, both on- and offline. The petition that has been making its rounds online have now reached 471 signatures with the target number increased yet again to 750. As the weekend comes to an end, the foremost question on every person’s mind concerned with the issue is “What will the school Administration do?”
Another dimension to this problem that needs to be looked into is the question of safety. As it is, the parking spaces are already limited and many students have resorted to parking in areas farther away from the campus. While the act of walking all the way from vehicle to school is not that big of a deal for the able-bodied, the harassment that some female students encounter is a cause for concern.
Talk to almost any female student on campus and she will surely have a story to recount about the time she was whistled at, leered at or had lewd comments thrown her way while she walked on the pavements of the Sunway area. Those who park by the area near Rock Cafe and the automobile workshops can attest to the fact that sometimes, harassment by the men working at those shops or even from men driving past in their cars, occur during the relatively short walk to and from campus.
During the construction of the yet-to-be-opened road near the paid parking, several have expressed disgust over the inappropriate behaviour of the construction workers working on-site. Now that the work is completed, there’s at least one less area where female students can expect to be verbally harassed. Unfortunately, these are not the only areas where this takes place.
Based on unofficial, completely impromptu surveys done among female peers on-campus since last semester, I have come to find out that the harassment have at times come from the security personnel. We cannot verify the veracity of these statements, particularly as several of the female students have declined to report (out of fear for their own safety) any of the security guards who were seen making lewd remarks or whistling and staring at them. That said, we cannot ignore them either especially since, if these reports are indeed true, they reflect a breach of trust.
Also worrying are the anecdotes about seeing non-Monash students parking at the designated parking areas who, unfortunately, also contribute to the culture of street harassment. A possible solution to this final problem, of non-Monashians taking parking spots, would be to implement a car decal system with both Monash logo and the license plate number displayed on the windshield. Parking at Sunway Pyramid and then walking on the two canopy walks connecting the shopping centre to Monash University will also put a stop to most of the harassment from men on the street.
However, both suggestions will incur more costs for the student already paying high tuition and transport fees. But of course, the ultimate decision and the implementation of any plans to alleviate the parking problem is up to the Administration.
For that, we will have to wait for the school week to begin on Monday.