The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday November 28th

Professor protests gameday bike ban

Biology professor Mark Peifer was walking by his lab Friday when he found a sign banning bicycles for the home football game against the University of Virginia. The sign said bicycles are banned from the location Friday evenings and Saturdays on football gameday weekends.

Peifer posted a picture of the sign on his Facebook page for his research lab, which is just behind the Genome Science Building in Fordham Hall. The post gained over 60,000 views and several complaints from faculty, students and employees. Peifer said the matter is more symbolic than anything, and it’s sending the wrong message.

“What’s more important on campus? And why are you here?” Peifer said. “Some people are saying there are other bike racks that are further away from the building, and it’s not like they are banning bike parking on campus. But really this is a research and academic building, not a football building.”

The football program hosts six to seven home football games during the school year. Over those weekends, parking on campus is constrained and buses are limited. Interim Faculty Chairperson Peter Mucha said this is a problem for those who need to work outside of business hours.

“Scientific research doesn’t adhere to a nice nine-to-five weekday schedule obviously, so understandably people are concerned and frustrated that their options are reduced,” Mucha said.

Peifer contacted different UNC officials and encouraged people to email Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham. Peifer said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp also offered his support, writing in an email that he was unaware of the situation beforehand and would pass the information to appropriate people at UNC.

Rick Steinbacher, senior associate athletic director for external communications, said the athletics department responded to Peifer and directed him to Department of Public Safety spokesperson Randy Young.

Young said in an email that Cheryl Stout, director of transportation and parking, invited Peifer to discuss bike parking at Genome on game days, and showed that other bike racks are still available around the building. Young did not explain why those bike racks in particular were banned.

“It is never the intention of Transportation and Parking to prevent access for important work and events that are happening on campus that are not associated with the games,” Young said in the email.

Peifer said he doesn’t hate UNC sports at all, but just wishes people could park their bikes wherever.

“This isn’t a giant crime, but it’s just silly,” Peifer said. “It’s just embarrassing that they would sign that kind of message in such a ridiculous way. It’s not just like someone’s research is destroyed because someone couldn’t park their bike.”


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