Success is a popular word at University. After all, we are all here to succeed and walk away from York’s concrete walls with a certificate in hand. One area we don’t anticipate success in at university is the collection of parking fines. Yet somehow the word “success” has found it’s way into the slogan for Newlyn, the company hired by the University to demand money from students over parking fines.
Newlyn proclaim: “Our goal is your success”. Success in what exactly? Success in having less money? Success in being harassed through multitudes of letters? Success in being distracted from your degree whilst trying to argue with an automated machine down the telephone? I don’t think our definition of “success” lines up with Newlyn’s definition.
But unfortunately for us the University have decided that they’d better line up otherwise we’ll end up having a fist fight with a bailiff on the front lawn or paying more for a parking ticket than the entirety of our degree.
Still, I can understand why the University has to employ an outside company to deal with the fines. I’d rather they didn’t waste their already stretched resources on hunting fine-dodging students, and why bother when you can just pay someone else to do it?
This would be fine if the University hadn’t chosen an extremely questionable company to carry out their work for them. Newlyn are not a “success” with those they come into contact with. And they certainly aren’t as squeaky clean as their expensive website might suggest. They have been accused on several occasions of sending out parking fines where an original fine was never issued. Perhaps even more worryingly, they have even previously been known to go onto private property, clamp a car and then demand a grand from the owner over a tiny fine, issued years before.
The fact that this company is now in charge of ensuring our, often wrongly allocated, debts are paid is literally a nightmare. We now have the future prospect of one day reclining at a desk whilst reminiscing about all our university antics only to be rudely interrupted by a hefty fine and an offensive letter. But for some it is not even a future prospect but something they already have to deal with.
As it is the University’s responsibility to protect us and take care of our welfare it is completely unacceptable that they are under the illusion that it is suitable to place us in the direct firing line of such an aggressive company. We could spend all day complaining about Newlyn and their scandalous policies but the real problem here is that the University are not putting our welfare as their own top priority. It appears that they are more bothered, in fact, about tracking down small parking fines, regardless of the consequences.
But at the end of the day perhaps part of the blame still falls on us. The reality is, if you park where you shouldn’t you will have to pay a fine. It is now commonplace in society not to say sorry but to push the blame onto everyone else. We have all seen those lists of car accident excuses, and as humorous as they may first appear they hold a haunting undertone. One excuse was “a pedestrian hit me and then went under my car”. Even in such a serious situation the driver was still unwilling to admit they were wrong.
I am not likening our parking fine troubles with the harming of pedestrians but the message remains the same: if you do something wrong, own up and pay. So, it seems that aside from “success” at your degree the next “success” you can aim for is avoiding Newlyn. And the best way to do that is to walk.