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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


OU student claims parking tickets should be public information

After being denied access to the names and other information of students who have received parking tickets on campus, University of Oklahoma student Joey Stipek, who was at the time the online editor for the university’s newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, wrote an article to bring to question what the university might be hiding. Now, he’s taken matters into his own hands by suing university president David Boren for the information.



UH parking policy has differs little from the University of Oklahoma. While general statistical information regarding school parking ticket records can be received through the Texas Open Records Request, student names, license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and student ID numbers are not available to the public. According to UH Parking and Transportation director Robert Browand, this is to retain student privacy.

“Students can access their own information via Parking’s E-biz site, the same site they register for parking,” Browand said. “They cannot access information on other students, faculty, or staff.”

When the University of North Carolina and the University of Maryland were revealed to have been ignoring parking tickets given to student athletes, Stipek went to his university to see if similar special treatment was being given to its student athletes.

“Students should have the right to know how the university is administering parking systems. On most campuses students pay a tremendous amount of fees to use parking facilities and build and maintain parking lots,” said Nick Harrison, Stipek’s attorney.

“They’d like to know that their coaches and student athletes, or any other faction, is getting special treatment. That’s what the stories at Maryland and North Carolina were initiated by, and that’s what Joey Stipek was trying (to do).”

In regards to the Universities of Maryland and North Carolina, cases of special treatment were covered by their respective school newspapers and brought to state courts. The schools, as well as the University of Oklahoma, defended themselves under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law enacted in 1974 that grants students access to their own records, but few else. The courts in Maryland and North Carolina, however, argued that parking tickets may not count as school records.

“What (OU) is counting on for you to just give up. You write a story like I did, people take notice, (but then) the attention goes away for a little bit, and three or four days later you forget about it; it’s just the news cycle,” Stipek said, a film and media studies senior.

“So they hope you lose interest or wait you out by graduating, so you just move on. Well I’ve got three years left, and I’m not going anywhere, unless they kick me out of school. So I figured this was the only way to keep them honest.”

The lawsuit against the OU president was filed in early May, and using the defenses that were successful in Maryland and North Carolina, Harrison expects a smooth case.

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