With reporting from Penny Yi Wang
A chorus of protest has erupted in Education City today over a new rule that prohibits students from parking on campus.
Due to a space crunch caused by ongoing construction projects, student drivers are now required to leave their cars in designated spots at the nearby Qatar National Convention Center and take a shuttle bus to school.
The new rule, which took effect Thursday, Aug. 15, is hitting home today as orientation kicks off across several universities. And, due to congestion inside of Qatar Foundation, drop-offs for students will also temporarily not be allowed.
There will be no student parking or drop off at GU-Q starting tomorrow. All students are required to park at QNCC… http://t.co/XPKsLJcCr9— Georgetown Qatar (@GeorgetownQatar)
The new ban, which does not apply to students living in dorms on campus, is being blasted as inconvenient and culturally insensitive by some members of the student body.
Speaking to Doha News, Noor Al-Thani, a local Northwestern University in Qatar sophomore, said:
“In our culture, girls don’t take buses. Our parents won’t agree to it.”
“If I’m the only person on the bus, am I supposed to ride with a male alone? My parents want me to be dropped off because they trust our driver and the maid, but they wouldn’t let me on a bus with a stranger!”
Others have bristled at the stiff penalties students could face for breaking the new rule. According to instructions posted on NU-Q’s website:
Visitors will continue to be permitted access to the South Campus as per normal practice. However, any students gaining access illegally as a “visitor” will have their vehicles wheel-clamped and/or removed. Additional security car-park patrols will take place from August 15 with this specific aspect in mind.
On Twitter, scorn and dismay were the most common reactions to the ban.
So does @qf not realise the amount of hate being generated just because students aren’t being provided parking spots?— Sandeep Pamulapati (@PSandeepReddy)
Dear QF’er, I’m seriously upset and us going to QNCC isn’t okay with me. If anyone’s planing a meeting with the deans tell me!— Al-Anood Al-Thani (@Al_Anood)
The bus takes 25 minutes to get from the QNCC to school. It’s going to be an interesting year to say the least.— Deema (@Merplaa)
Though shuttles are scheduled to run from the QNCC every 10 minutes from 6:30am to 9pm on weekdays, students have said the buses are not always on time.
Meanwhile, QF is planning to build a People-Mover System to facilitate transportation for the entire campus community, but the timeline for that project remains unclear.
No information has been provided about how long the ban will last. For now, students are being advised to allot an extra 30 to 45 minutes when making their way to campus.
Credit: Photo for illustrative purposes only by Sam Agnew