Students loitering on River Campus

By The Beacon | November 10, 2010 9:00pm

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Despite orders from EPA to keep people off property, Public Safety finds students trespassing

(Alisa White -- The Beacon)

By Natalie Wheeler, Staff Writer -- wheelern12@up.edu

Although construction has not yet begun on the River Campus, Public Safety has had to remove some unwelcome visitors.

According to Harold Burke-Sivers, director of Public Safety, students were found loitering on the property on several occasions.

"They're not doing anything really bad, usually just smoking or drinking, but there are still safety and environmental concerns," Burke-Sivers said.

According to the Environmental Protection Act website, the land is still listed as a Superfund site, meaning that the property has some uncontrolled hazardous waste. Burke-Sivers said that the area also was home to drug dealers and gang members when UP first purchased the property.

"We've chased off some people there who were really not nice people," said Burke-Sivers, "and we don't want our students interacting with them."

The EPA has ordered the property off limits to the public, but Public Safety has had a difficult time enforcing that decree. Although UP put up fencing and lighting to keep people out, it is still easy for wanderers to walk in through a gate at the top of the roadway.

The gate is a glorified "X" that people can easily climb over or under. Burke-Sivers said that Public Safety has struggled to keep curious visitors from going through it, but they are not allowed to put in a sturdier gate because the entrance is technically on a city street.

Although the River Campus has the potential to become a safe and inviting part of UP, Burke-Sivers hopes students realize the area is still adapting from its gritty past.

"There have been taggers, gangsters, assaults and rapes down there – we even caught some people filming a porno," Burke-Sivers said, "so this is really not a place for students."


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