UTC Dining; The Good, The Bad, and The Not So Healthy

By: Emily Noey

CHATTANOOGA, TENN (UTC/The Loop) – UTC students are less than thrilled about the dining options offered on campus.  Several students are voicing their concerns about the not so healthy choices the university has to offer.

Emily Scherba, UTC junior, said she would eat in the UC more regularly if there were more options.

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For a brief period of time, Tazikis was offered in the University Center.

“All we have on campus is junk food,” Scherba said. “There just isn’t enough variety for students who would like to eat healthy.”

There have been improvements and changes made around campus concerning dining.

Some of the current dining options UTC offers:

  • Subway
  • Moes
  • Chik-Fil-A
  • Burger Studio

For a brief period of time Tazikis was located in the UC. Tazikis offered an array of salads and sandwiches; a nice alternative to burgers and fried chicken.

Kendall Koch, UTC sophomore, feels UTC could make a quick fix with the dining issues by adding variety.

“Other universities consistently and regularly change out their restaurants on campus,” Koch says. “This keeps students happy, and can provide healthy options.”

Not only is clean eating an issue; several students are vegetarian or have food restrictions.

Chaney McKinney, UTC junior, struggles with finding food on campus that can accommodate her.

“The food on campus doesn’t appeal to vegetarians. It is almost impossible to get my daily serving of vegetables,” McKinney said.

Students are not only upset about the limited options; they are also concerned about the price.

“It is so expensive and incredibly hard to afford eating on campus as a poor college student,” McKinney said.

The university has made proactive steps in pleasing students, such as creating a Campus Dish website. This website offers ways to eat healthy and accommodate food restrictions.

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Graduation: So Close, Yet So Far Away For Many UTC Students.

By Arielle Henson

CHATTANOOGA, Tn (UTC/The Loop) – If you plan on graduating on time, think twice.
UTC students come in as freshman with the idea of graduating on a four-year path, but that may not be the case these days.

Many classes that are necessary for graduation requirements are only being offered once a semester and at one time slot.

Caitlyn Mantooth, UTC senior, said she has had several adjuncts over the years and noticed their times are offered less often.

UTC grad“ I think if UTC departments hired less adjuncts and more full-time professors, we would not have this problem,” Mantooth said. “ Full-time professors have more flexible schedules while adjuncts typically have other jobs.”

Some have expressed their frustration surrounding this issue and it has been resolved quickly.

Michael Andrews, UTC communication professor, has seen change happen within the Communication Department already.

“It was to the point where there were far too many students in one class and Dr. Alderman realized this and now has Dr. Harris teaching another section of senior seminar along side of Dr. Sachsman,” Andrews said.

The communication department, however, is not the only department with this problem.

Cody Dowler, UTC Junior, said he had to wait an entire semester to take Spanish Two because it was only offered in the spring, putting him an entire semester behind for graduation.

While this seems to be a big problem on this campus, what can be done to change it?

Kami Rowe, UTC Junior, said, “ If they offer more sections at a higher capacity than 15-20, that would help. I know I have a hard time getting into my communication electives because they are small classes.”

Professor Andrews also thinks there can be change made through students speaking with department heads.

“I would say that students need to register their concerns with department heads and let them know you can’t graduate because this class is not available,” he said.

Here is how you can make a difference in your department:

  • Speak  with the department head and give a supported reason why you need another section
  • Speak with other students to have a support group behind you
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Late Refund Checks Won’t Keep The Lights On

By: Cody Dowler

CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/The Loop) –  A few unlucky UTC students have reported troubles they’ve had receiving money from financial aid. This has resulted in students receiving refund checks up to 3 weeks late.

My late refund check added late fees to my utility bills
Late refund checks have added late fees to utility bills.
Photo from Salon.com

As many students know, whenever you take out a federal loan you must sign something called a master promissory note which basically is your promise to the government that you will pay them back for your loan.

Some students waited two weeks after the refunds were supposed to be given out before going to the financial aid office to find out what was wrong. This is because they originally thought the problem was with the bursar’s office.

The financial aid office said they hadn’t received some students master promissory notes yet. These students became furious at this point and let the office know it very well. Students complained about being late on rent, Comcast, and EPB bills, and also about receiving late fees for each of these bills all because financial aid hadn’t received the promissory note yet.

As it turns out, they found these promissory notes the following day and these students received refunds the following Wednesday which was 3 weeks later than most people.

Josh Hawkins, a senior from Dickson, said, “I’ve had quite a few issues with receiving my money on time from financial aid. This semester I got my refund two weeks later than everyone else.”

When asked about how much he was depending on that refund money, Hawkins said, “I needed it really badly, I had to call home and ask my parents to pay my rent for the month. If my rent wasn’t so cheap though, they wouldn’t have been able to pay it. I don’t know what would’ve happened then.”

Sylvia Graves helping out a student in the financial aid office

Sylvia Graves helps out a student in the financial aid office

Sylvia Graves, a student services assistant who works in the financial aid department, said, “Yes, sometimes we do misplace things. We’re not perfect and it is important that students bring their issues to our attention. We can always hand out emergency loans if students need money immediately while we resolve whatever issues there may be.”

For more information on emergency loans and financial aid services, click here

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UTC Is Building Towards Success

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA,Tenn(UTC/The Loop) – UTC is planning on purchasing the State building off McCallie Ave., and turning it into an all freshmen residence hall in the coming future.

Currently, the only residence hall that’s all freshman is Stagmaier Hall, which is located on the south side of Lockmiller.

Layout of Stagmaier Hall Bedroom.

Layout of Stagmaier Hall Bedroom.

Vice Chancellor for Housing and Residence Life Tim Johnson said that the school has already purchased the property, and is waiting for the state to move offices from the old building to a new location.
There are still some issues needing to be worked out, Johnson said,  “No decisions have been made of the disposition of the building. We have an architectural firm doing an analysis of the building to help in that decision making process. All options are on the table at this point.”

Some on-campus freshman aren’t sure about how they feel about an all freshman residence hall. Freshman Casey Stinnett said, ” I don’t like the idea of secluding freshman in one building.”

  • Freshman retention rate has been an issue for UTC, according to a Times Free Press article. At the current rate the article said, UTC is retaining less than 70% of freshman.
  • In that same article Johnson said, “If these students thrive, they’ll stick around for another year or three to earn a diploma.”

Other students echo what Johnson has said. Junior Rachel Curtis said,  “I think a new building will bring a new type of excitement here on campus, and possibly keep some freshman here on UTC’s campus.”

The new residence hall doesn’t have a final scheduled open date. Johnson did say they hope they can open by fall 2017.

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Officials, students discuss UTC parking availability

Many students are choosing to pay at metered parking spots rather than purchase a parking pass for the semester.

Many students are choosing to pay at metered parking spots rather than purchase a parking pass for the semester.

By Gabrielle Chevalier

Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)–The University’s parking availability is not expected to improve in the near future, according to the members of the University Parking Authority.

Shalin Shah, a Chattanooga senior and head of the Parking Authority Committee, said changes are slow to come to fruition, and some officials are not sure there is even a need for additional parking.

“The members of the committee seem very averse to really fundamentally looking at the issue, they don’t understand that we do lose students over parking,” Shah said. “Parking is a problem and a hassle and needs to be fixed now, not later. They seem reluctant to pursue big changes and I wish I could push those through.”

Shah said he did not anticipate how difficult it would be to begin making changes to help fix campus parking.

Different divisions of the University have different expectations, and, if one person is bothered by a change, others are “up in arms” about it, he said.

Additional concerns

In addition to the issue of available parking on campus, the parking authority also seems to be losing money, he said.

“I have directed the appeals committee to explore our options and look at our finances,” he said. “Parking seems to be losing money because of extraordinary expenses, and we can’t fix parking if they are losing money.”

Prior to his position with the parking authority, Shah served as the head of the Student Parking Appeals Committee and co-chair of the Parking Rates Committee.

“It has convinced me that this is an incredibly complicated issue with no easy solution,” he said of his time working with parking officials.

A student in UTC General Lot 30 receives a parking ticket during the middle of the day, the time when parking lots are the most crowded, according to University officials.

A student in UTC General Lot 30 receives a parking ticket during the middle of the day, the time when parking lots are the most crowded, according to University officials.

Crunching numbers

The cost for University parking passes has increased each year, according to a recent article by The University Echo.

Currently, prices are:

  • $120 per year for general parking
  • $276 per year for reserved parking
  • $316 per year for 24-hour reserved parking
  • $550 per year for south campus parking

University enrollment has increased more than 30 percent in the past six years, however, parking has not matched the growth.

There are currently 5,942 decal spaces to accommodate 7,591 students, Cindee Pulliam, vice chancellor of auxiliary services and property management, said in an interview for The Echo.

Because not all students are on campus at the same time, the number of passes sold is greater than the number of spaces available for the lot, according to the University parking website.

Student opinion

Savannah Langen, a Nashville sophomore, said she is frustrated to hear officials say there may not be a need for additional parking.

“When you have students driving around for 20 or 30 minutes trying to find parking, that’s clearly an issue,” she said. “Students pay for parking. We pay for classes. When one disrupts your ability to focus on the other, there is a serious problem.”

Allison Wade, a Memphis junior, agreed with Langen.

Wade, who lives on Oak Street, said while she no longer has to worry about parking before class, it was a problem which disrupted her schoolwork on multiple occasions.

“There was a time where I was almost late for a big test just because I couldn’t find any place to park in the middle of the day,” she said. “Now I can walk, but where I lived before that just wasn’t an option.”

Wade said she eventually began parking in the meter spots around campus rather than searching for a general parking place.

Where to go

Shah encouraged all students with suggestions and concerns to voice them through SGA leaders or by contacting him at Shalin-Shah@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

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All Aboard UTC’s Mocs Express

By Alexandria Adams

Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)-  UTC provides students, faculty, and staff  a way to get to their destinations on campus quickly, safely, and free of charge.

The Mocs Express is a part of  the city of Chattanooga’s CARTA bus system. CARTA is Chattanooga’s public transit provider. Anyone with a validated UTC ID card can ride the bus.

Mocs Express

UTC’s Mocs Express

Three buses run throughout the day, starting at 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Generally, the  busiest times people are on the bus are between the hours of noon and four o’clock,” said CARTA driver Rhonda Albert. “The UC and the corner store are where I pick up the most students.”

Benefits of Riding a CARTA Bus with a UTC ID/ Mocs Express:

  • Unlimited free access to downtown Chattanooga, Hamilton Place, Northgate, and other CARTA routes
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Busses run every 6 minutes

UTC freshmen Shauntra Spencer and Raquel Fuller said they both take the bus each day. ” I think it’s more convenient.” I have learned to know the schedule so I know when it will be coming and how long I’m going to have to wait,” Spencer said.

Weather plays a key factor to why some students take the bus said Fuller.” The bus is the most crowded when it’s cold or rainy.”

Engle Stadium Parking

 Other students who take the Mocs Express are those who park in the gravel lot near Engle Stadium. The lot is a distance from UTC’s campus, but the Mocs Express picks up and drops off many students from the location each day.
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Sophomore Bernie Smith said that she just recently found about the lot and enjoys using it. “When I didn’t know about this parking lot I would go over in the other gravel lot off of Palmetto. I would circle around there for a good 30 minutes searching for a parking spot and I would be late to class all the time.”
Smith said before she found out about the Engle Stadium parking lot she had aquired over $180 worth of money in parking tickets. Smith said she likes the fact she can leave her home 15 minutes before class starts, catch the Mocs Express ,and make it to campus on time.
For more information about The Mocs Express or the CARTA bus service please visit www.utc.edu/Adminstration/ParkingServices  or call (423)-425-4051.
Hop on board the Mocs Express with Mocs News! Mocs News interviewed students and CARTA staff about the shuttle experience. Click below to watch.

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UTC Population Grows While Parking Can’t Keep Up

By: Chris Awuah

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – If you have to drive a car onto the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus you will quickly find out that parking here at the university is rare unless you own a reserved decal. With UTC’s student body and faculty rising by the years parking spaces on the campus haven’t been able to keep up.

Students that attend UTC feel as if this may be the biggest downfall for the university, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is not the only school that are having these parking problems. Facts have shown that people are enrolling into Universities more than ever before to improve on their education.

A UTC student paying a meter on campus.

A UTC student paying a meter on campus.

Universities in the greater Atlanta area are facing the same exact problems that students are facing here in Chattanooga. According to Marquita Armstead, Georgia Tech located in downtown Atlanta has a student population of about 12,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. The university has a total of 9,988 parking spaces to accommodate those who attend the school on a daily basis. Armstead  joined the universities staff just last year but quickly realized that some kind of policies must be implemented or issues will continue to grow.

“Georgia Tech is very similar to Chattanooga when it comes to parking. If you park somewhere your not suppose to you get a ticket. If you park on the street for too long you get a ticket,” said Armstead.

City Universities vs Rural Universities

Universities in the city are more likely to have parking issues compared tho those who are in areas with more free land. Schools in the city are forced to build upward instead of outward to reduce the amount of space being used 

The ticket business has been a decent part of UTC’s yearly revenue and with the ratio of cars to parking spaces getting larger it will only be generating more revenue in the future.

With the high demand for parking but only limited spaces to find, students have found ways to manipulate UTC’s parking service officials to help them get the parking spot they need to get to the places on campus they need to be. Many students have been reusing previously written tickets given to them to make it seem as if they have already been ticketed for the parking violation.

After hearing what some students had been doing throughout the semester, Kadeem Wise a senior at UTC felt the idea was cleaver but would soon be cracked.

“After 60 plus dollars in parking violations just this semester alone, I should’ve maybe tried it to see how much money I could’ve saved,” said Wise.

The last recorded student and faculty enrollment at UTC was around 11,600. According to a parking official, UTC currently has 5,194 parking spots (General, Reserved, Guest) for those who commute to the university grounds. Students believe UTC should began to build upward for the near future, because the university enrollment will only increase as time goes.

Map of UTC campus

For students who continue to struggle with parking, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has additional parking less then a mile from campus at Engel Stadium with a free shuttle to and from campus.

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A Day in the Life of Parking Services at UTC

By: Sloane DeBerry

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) – Parking is a problem on every college campus, but at UTC parking tickets are becoming a growing pandemic.

All parking tickets that are given out at UTC have to be paid at Parking Services.

Many students do not know the day to day tasks that workers at parking services face. Blair Ryan, parking attendant at parking services, describes her daily schedule as answering phones concerning questions about how to pay tickets online, questions about rules and specific dates, and does some cashiering in the front office.

A student paying for a parking ticket at Parking Services

A student paying for a parking ticket at Parking Services

Many students at UTC try to think of ways to get out of paying a parking ticket, Parking Attendant, Blair Ryan, explains that there is an appeal process that many students take advantage of when they are not liable for a parking ticket they received.

When asked what was the most common excuses for parking tickets, Blair Ryan had this to say.

UTC Parking Services gives out anywhere from 400-500 tickets per day.

For the day shift, which is from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., the average number of tickets given out range from 100 to a little under 300 tickets.

The second shift, which is from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., focuses on any reserved lots that are labeled 24 hours.

ParkingMapMar11

Map of Reserved and General Parking at UTC

Courtney Shirkey, a junior from Chattanooga, said she has received several parking tickets for not having her parking decal in her car for her particular lot. She said the appeal process is very long, but its worth it when she doesn’t have to pay for a ticket.

The majority of ticket writers are UTC students, but they have a total of seven ticket writers during the day, and five in the evening. Some supervisors and managers also help with the writing of tickets, as well as campus security and campus police.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No More Parking in Fort Wood for UTC Students

By Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – In September of 2012, the City Council of Chattanooga voted to ban non-residents from parking in Fort Wood. And by non-residents, they mean UTC students. The ordinance applies to the 800 and 900 blocks of Oak Street, Vine Street and Fort Wood Street, as well as the 500 block of Fort Wood Historic District.

New parking ban leaves ample parking for residents

This is a problem for UTC students because before the decision to ban parking, students had a one-hour grace period for parking during school hours. Students would often park in Fort Wood for one class, and sometimes for longer risking a ticket, since the neighborhood is conveniently right next to campus.

The decision was made because Fort Wood residents were having problems finding a place to park near their homes. The streets would be full of student cars, often leaving nowhere to park for homeowners and businesses. Most houses and apartments do not have parking lots or driveways to accommodate residents, so that only leaves street parking.

Fort Wood Historic District is located right next to campus

Emma Tinius, a junior at UTC and Oak Street resident, says she is ecstatic about the new decision. Tinius said, “I am paying $25 for a Fort Wood parking pass, but could never find a spot. I don’t have a driveway so I literally had nowhere to park. It was so frustrating because it was a daily struggle. You have no idea how happy I am about the new rule.”

When asked if Tinius had problems with tickets when friends came to visit, she did admit that it was a risk her friends had to take. “People don’t come over that often,” she said.

Another Oak Street resident, UTC senior Julia Schlicher, said her visitors had to park in her small backyard or driveway. “Parking was an issue for me as well. When friends came over, they would have to basically park in my yard, which looks kind of trashy for the Fort Wood area.”

A Vine Street resident and non-student, Robert Stanley, is relieved that the new ban was passed. Stanley lives next door to the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, and the 60 fraternity members would park on the street for their weekly meeting. Although their meetings are only weekly, some members still park on the street just because their house was so close to campus, which sometimes left Stanley with few places to park.

Chi Omega’s sorority house is located in Fort Wood

Naturally, many commuter students are very unhappy with the new rule. With the current parking shortage and record amount of 12,100 students, the Fort Wood parking ban is yet another tragedy for commuter students.

UTC sophomore, Brian Bledsoe, said that the ban was a huge inconvenience for commuter students. And since the ban has taken effect, the streets have excess parking, which only frustrates students more since they are not allowed to park there. Bledsoe said,”I honestly believe that there are more students that park there than there are residents who live in Fort Wood, so I think we deserved a say in the matter. I understand why the people living there are upset, but we as students with basically no parking have the right to be mad, too. We could park there for 15 minutes and get an $11 ticket, which multiplies to like $40 after a certain amount of days. It’s ridiculous.”

Since the ban, there is much more room for residents to park

Students who are upset about the Fort Wood parking ban are demanding that the university do something to alleviate the problem, since the ban now eliminates yet another area to park. One option that UTC junior, Keri McKay, suggests is that freshmen should not be allowed to have cars on campus. “I know some other universities don’t allow freshmen to have cars and I mean just think about it, freshmen are one-fourth of the students at UTC. That would help all the other students out so much. Freshmen can deal with no car for one year,” said McKay.

To obtain a Fort Wood parking pass, you must be a resident of Fort Wood and apply for a permit. The lease determines how many permits will be allowed per residence. Permits are $25 and renewable yearly.

UTC authorities have suggested that students park at meters or purchase a general parking pass because there is ample parking at the Engel Stadium general parking lot. For more information on shuttle routes, see where you can go on the Mocs Express Campus Shuttle.

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Loop Holes to UTC Parking

By Emily Kulick and Brian Bass

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) –  UTC is known for having few parking spaces and for ticketing too frequently. After spending $140 on my parking tickets, I discovered some loop holes in the parking system.

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 1.46.30 PM

The UTC campus parking map.

According to parking services, all lots located on campus are patrolled at all times of the day. After three years spent at UTC, and two semesters without a parking decal, there are many lots located on campus that are not patrolled at all times of the day.

Jennifer McGee, a sophomore at UTC, says she always parks at Guerry apartments, lot 47, after five p.m. and moves her car before 10 a.m. and never gets a ticket.

“I think parking services checks the lots as often as they can but not enough to prevent students from parking there with the wrong parking decals,” says McGee.

Screen shot 2013-04-08 at 2.42.52 PM

Lot 47, by Guerry apartments.

I bought a parking decal for lot 10, EMCS building, two semesters ago. I have been using the same lot without a parking decal ever since it expired.

Between the hours of 10:00 to 10:50 a.m., lot 10 is available for parking without a parking decal. The lot is also available from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the next day.

Parking lot 10 is not available during the hours of 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. The lot is patrolled by parking services during those hours.

The lot by the Frist building,26, is patrolled during the day heavily. However, the lot is free to park in from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. the next day. I have received a ticket for parking there at 2:45, so make sure you don’t get to the lot too early.

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 10.52.31 AM

Lot 26, by the Frist building.

 

Kylie Linfoot, a UTC junior, says that she parks in the garage by the ARC, 31, without a decal.

“To get in the garage, you need a number to type in. All you have to do is find someone who bought a number and use theirs when you want to park there,” says Linfoot.

Linfoot also says that she parks in the garages by Stophel apartments without a decal. She lets the person in front of her slide their card first, then she just drives in the garage behind them.

All general lots are “patrolled” as well but I have never been ticketed without a decal.

The UTC parking loop holes are subject to change but for now students should feel free to use these loop holes at anytime.

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