Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crushing Of Dissent at UGA

This dustup at the University of Georgia has to be the lamest thing I've come across in months:

When student Jacob Lovell submitted an email to the UGA Parking Services, he was then threatened with charges of “disorderly conduct” and “disruption” by the associate dean of students, Kimberly Ellis.

“Specifically, it is alleged that Mr. Lovell engaged in disorderly conduct and disrupted parking services when he sent an email to them that was threatening.”

The email was sent to “,” which solicits comments from patrons “both positive and negative.”

Here’s the email he sent:

Subject: Scooter parking
Message: To:

Why isn’t there any scooter parking near Aderhold, according to your parking map? There’s like a billion places to park on north campus and over by the Georgia center, but nothing anywhere close to Aderhold. What the hell? Did you guys just throw darts at a map to decide where to put scooter corrals? Can I expect you guys to get off your asses and put in a corral near there some point before I [bleeping] graduate and/or the sun runs out of hydrogen?

Thanks for nothing, ever,


To which the easily irked replied:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: UGA Parking Services
Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: Your Parking Services Request – Case 000000000016711

Your e-mail was sent to student judiciary.

To which Lovell awesomely replied:

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Jacob Lovell [REDACTED]
Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: Your Parking Services Request – Case 000000000016711
To: UGA Parking Services

So that’s a no?

J.P. Friere of the Washington Examiner called up Ellis to ask what the heck was going on here, and was told that Lovell must submit to a 'disciplinary appointment,' or he won't be allowed to register for future classes.

Lame. Lovell's email was obviously sophomoric--but then again, he's probably a sophomore.

Most large universities make tons of money off of overzealously-enforced parking tickets, and the administrators and campus cops really hate it when the deficiencies in their 'master parking plans' are pointed out. But they put out the feedback email address themselves, and don't have any business griping when they get genuine--and genuinely non-threatening--responses.

The only thing Lovell threatened with that email was some officious campus bureaucrat's ego. Georgia deserves to get a big black eye for this one.

UPDATE: Commenter "The Monk" notes that UGA backed down on disciplining Lovell last week, as laid out in this press release from FIRE that was released yesterday. I doubt very much that would have happened if Lovell hadn't gone to FIRE for help, and subesquently had this whole ridiculous affair publicized.

Bureaucrats, like cockroaches, hate daylight.


  1. What's the old line about academic politics being so nasty because the stakes are so low?

  2. Fascist tendencies so easily triggered.

  3. I bet when he's all alone in front of his mirror every morning he looks into it and proclaims... "I am an important Bureaucrat!!! You will kneel Before Zod!!!"

  4. I hope Auburn beats the crap out of UGA this year.

  5. You will abide by the pretentious standard of gentility expected of Southern Gentlemen or we will treat you like the rude Yankee interloper you appear to be.

  6. Everyone should call UGa and ask them the reason for this. ESPECIALLY alumni who are large donors.

  7. I dunno. If my job was so banal as to administer parking at a university, I might take every opportunity I get to show I can't be pushed around.

  8. Telephone number for U GA parking
    706 542 7275

    Telephone number for Kimberly Ellis
    706 542 1131

    both found with google in 10 seconds.

  9. Don't ever question the motives of a fake cop.

  10. Since UGa is a public institution, it is bound by the Constitution. Sanctions for expressions of opinion or seeking redress of grievances is basic liberties. Someone ought to point the guy to FIRE or ACLU.

  11. Will: You're late with this one -- the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education took up the kid's cause, blasted the UGa administration in correspondence, and ultimately UGa stood down and decided not to prosecute its rubbish claims.

    See here:

  12. I got my undergraduate degrees from Excelsior College ( ), which doesn't have any parking spaces. But when I attended the University of Kansas in the 1980s, the university made its money by selling 40% more parking permits than they had parking spaces. I don't think they ever threatened anyone with prosecution for disorderly conduct though...

  13. Parking at UGA is a total racket. I actually know employees who have to park off-campus.

  14. I'm a grad student at UGA (currently typing this in class...), and I agree with LordSomber - parking here is a racket.

    There is PLENTY of space on campus to easily build enough parking spaces for everyone. In a market-based system, we'd probably have about 20-50% more parking available, which would easily relieve just about all of the parking pressure.

    It's not the price of parking that's a problem (although by local/southern standards it's insane). Rather, the problem is that there simply isn't enough parking even at the price. They have a rather crazy "lottery" type system that allots spaces based upon credit hours and some various other factors.

    Additionally, the original e-mailer in this case is just one of many voices that is upset because the University just removed a lot of moped parking and didn't replace any of it - after encouraging a lot of people to switch to motorcycles and mopeds.

    It's pretty clear from the outside that the University is primarily interested in maximizing its revenue stream.

  15. I was disciplined at UC San Diego because I put a sticker that said "attn parking dweeb: why don't you get a real job?" next to my parking pass.

    The parking guys completely fabricated a story that had me swearing a blue streak in front of frightened tourists who were trying to go to the Scripps Aquarium. The thrust of their complaint fell apart because of overreach (some of the things they said I said just didn't make sense) but I ended up with a blackmark on my record anyway.

    If there was ever a cretinous/self-importance metric the typical university parking dweeb would score highest. They are unqualified to flip burgers at McD's yet they have this exaggerated sense of importance-- "university security" blah blah blah.

  16. I used to give parking tickets in a large Western city. Compared to some of the complaints we used to field, Mr Lovell's IS polite.

    We never took those letters to a court, or even used them against the complainant in court if they wished to challenge the ticket. We *did* keep some of them in a special file as mementos (besides, some of them really were pretty funny.....)

    Man up, UGA.

  17. whatdafuq, looks like you might have a FIRE case.

  18. It is indeed a racket. Some of the lots are free for holders of University IDs after a certain time (4, 5, or 6 pm). However, they set the parking clocks back by about 2-3 minutes from the official time so that people who think they're getting in on time are clocking in 2 minutes early, and are charged the full rate when they came out of the decks. The kicker is if someone waits even 15 seconds for the clock to actually hit the top of the hour, they're written up for a $40 ticket for "obstructing traffic".

    I'm honestly surprised they don't get student protests at their parking offices. How hard is it to organize a bunch of pissed-off college students in the age of Facebook?