The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday September 18th

DPS Reacts to Trespassing Incidents

Between Sept. 7 and Sept. 10, three counts of trespassing were reported on the UNC campus.

But Jeff McCracken, deputy director of the Department of Public Safety, said the incidents do not indicate a widespread problem on campus.

While the events all happened in a short period of time, McCracken said it is simply a coincidence and that all similar incidents are handled by University police in the same way.

McCracken said that with normal trespassing incidents, police usually are first notified by someone who suspects a person should not be on campus. The situations usually arise because of suspicious activity by the trespasser.

Only students and anyone directly associated with the University are allowed to be on UNC grounds, McCracken said. "(UNC is) owned by the state, but it's not like it's what you would think as public property," he said.

Two of the three incidents were reported Sept. 7. One police report stated that a person was sleeping in the bushes near Hill Hall, while the other incident involved a man sleeping in the grass outside West House. Other police reports state that on Sept. 10 a male was found sleeping in Phillips Hall.

In all occurrences, the trespassers were removed from campus and ordered not to return. Violators are given a warning on their first offense, McCracken said, but if they return they can be arrested.

But McCracken said University police do not go out of their way to search the campus for trespassers. "If (people) have a reason to be here we'll let them go about their business," McCracken said.

And while many students bring friends to campus for visitation, some say they are reassured knowing there are concrete distinctions that classify trespassers.

Freshman Rashida Belk said she feels more comfortable knowing the campus isn't open to just anyone. "I feel safer knowing most people are here for a reason," she said.

But freshman Rachel Townson said the DPS do not make it clear enough who should and should not be allowed on campus. "I don't see why (campus) should be closed off ... it's a public university."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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