Students answer mayor’s call to help stop predatory towing

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Student leaders meet with Mayor Curtis to discuss the ordinance change to towing prior to the ordinance's announcement on Dec 9. Photo courtesy Brandon Beck.
Student leaders meet with Mayor Curtis to discuss the ordinance change to towing prior to the ordinance’s announcement on Dec 9. (Photo courtesy Brandon Beck)

All that was left was to walk them to their door. That was how Logan Greenburg, then a new student at BYU, and his friends were ending their triple date.

“There was no parking on the streets and the apartment lot was completely open so we parked the car, walked them to the door, walked back and the car was gone. I was really frustrated,” Greenburg said.

Greenburg, a sophomore from Atlanta studying neuroscience, is now one of the many students who has actively answered the call Mayor Curtis made to students to help end what has been deemed “predatory towing”

According to Brandon Beck, BYU student body president, the mayor has been very supportive and mindful of the negative impacts this kind of towing has on students.

“(The mayor) is very aware of the realities in Provo. He wants Provo to grow and become the best city it can be for its residents, and he acknowledges that students are a huge part of the resident population,” Beck said. “He realizes how much discontent there is with the towing situation, and he knows that it can hinder students from staying here after they graduate or even them bringing in visitors.”

After accumulating over $300 in towing within the first month of living in Provo, Beck came across a blog post written by the mayor last fall wherein the mayor said towing was getting out of hand and labeled it as predatory.

Beck, already one of the vice presidents in the student leadership at BYU, decided that should he ever become the student body president, one of his initiatives would be to help the mayor to end predatory towing in Provo.

Shortly after his election, Beck and a few other student leaders began to meet with the mayor to discuss possible solutions to the issue and how the students at BYU could do their part. Beck also formed a committee in BYUSA to research the issue and help mobilize the students.

“Us meeting with the mayor like this hasn’t really happened before. It’s really cool that he is willing to meet with us because I don’t know of many colleges whose student councils get to meet with the mayor on a regular basis,” said BYUSA committee leader Amberly Asay.

According to Greenburg, another leader of the committee, the committee’s efforts at first were passive and were mostly limited to information gathering such as giving surveys to students and apartment complexes.

In a meeting prior to his Dec. 9 announcement of the ordinance change that would cripple predatory towing, the mayor met with Beck and other student leaders to discuss the details of the ordinance and also to ask for their help gaining students’ support.

In answer to the call, the BYUSA committee created the “End the Reaping” Facebook page in order to give students a conduit to express their opinions, get their questions answered about the issue and even see funny memes made by students against towing.

The following is a list from the BYUSA committee about what students can do to support the ordinance:

  1. Visit https://www.facebook.com/EndTheReaping
  2. Email the Provo City Council members about experiences with towing in Provo (City Council member email addresses can be found on the Facebook page above)
  3. Attend the City Council meeting on Dec. 17
  4. Bring a printed copy of your experiences
  5. Visit the mayor’s blog
  6. Take the survey on the blog
  7. Share the memes about towing on Facebook

“Our goal is to get 225 people at the meeting with copies of their letters, and then 700 emails to council members talking about their stories with towing … thanking the city council members for considering this issue,” Greenburg said.

According to the committee, it is crucial that students attend the council meeting on Dec. 17, when the city council will vote on the ordinance change. A comment on the End the Reaping Facebook page claims that the last time an ordinance was brought up against predatory towing, the towing companies “came in droves.”

“A lot of people don’t take college kids seriously, so if we are able to rally together and say, ‘No, this is what we want,’ and work with the mayor — that’s a lot of credibility, and it shows that we do have power and a voice,” Asay said.

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