Automation’s Dark Side

Yesterday we went to a daytime event at UCSB to which outsiders were invited.

The million-dollar arch at the entrance is beautiful, but the old booth with a student handing out maps and directions was much more useful than the arch to visitors.

Since the introduction of stiff parking fees (even after hours), there is an even greater need for someone at the entrance to help. This person would then suggest the best available unrestricted parking lot and sell the parking fee [sticker] to stick on the window, valid in any okay space. This will avoid the need to locate a pay machine (sometimes in the dark) and then again return to the car to leave the receipt.

We suggest that the UCSB chancellor spend one week coming to work incognito with a car without parking permits or staff parking privileges and at the end of the week express his views about the policies in effect.

In our case, we had to find an unrestricted space far away from our destination, then find and struggle with a pay machine totally illegible in sunlight, then return to the car to leave the receipt, and finally walk 12 minutes across the campus to arrive late at our event.

We invite comments from administrators as to the savings realized by eliminating a student staff in a welcoming and fee-collecting booth. - Michael and Brigitte Seligman

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