By JONATHON MYERS
“Townies,” or residents of the local area who are not enrolled at the University of Mary Washington, have been playing basketball at the Goolrick gyms and interrupting team practices, in some cases some even refuse to leave when told. The thought that complete strangers can wander onto campus at their leisure and use our facilities is a scary reality to some.
The crux of the security complaints is essentially that Goolrick’s front doors are not very secure, according to Athletic Director, Ken Tyler.
“The doors in Goolrick Hall are original to the building and present challenges,” Tyler said. “On occasion, we have had non-UMW students in the building.”
The validity of the reports seems to be confirmed by Tyler’s admissions of these incidents having happened before. However, senior English major and president of the club women’s basketball team Gabrielle Clark does not seem worried about it.
“It is posted in several places that anyone playing in Goolrick must have the proper identifications,” Clark said. “This could possibly be a potential safety concern if people that intended to do harm learned how to enter the gym without anyone being aware. I have noticed in the last couple of practices more of [a] police presence in Goolrick, which would help keep unwanted people out of the gym.”
Non-students are prohibited from using the athletic facilities on campus and there seem to be many measures in place already to ensure that it stays that way. Although reports of recent increased police presence would imply an increased need for them to be there, such as strangers wandering into the gyms perhaps but Clark was unconvinced that there was any need to worry.
“I am not aware of any of these reports of “townies” [playing basketball] in the gym or using the facilities,” said Clark. “There have been no issues with Women’s Basketball and non-students.
All of our players, and the people that come out to play with the team, are students and have completed the necessary paperwork in order to be eligible to play.”
Members of the club women’s basketball team have been able to avoid these encounters. However, the club men’s basketball team has had a different experience.
“The “townies” in the gym is something I’ve experienced firsthand for three years now,” said junior business major Zachary Wohleking, a player from the club men’s basketball team. “They always interrupt our practices.”
He went on to talking about how last year the basketball team had to contact campus police a few times. “It happened more last year during men’s club basketball, we had to contact campus police on a few occasions [because] of the number of people in the gym that do not go here,” Wohleking said. “And yeah my understanding is that it is illegal, this year not as much though, we have been good about checking IDs.”
While it has been a problem in the past, the administration has rectified it. Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety, Mike Hall said, “Our PD staff continues to patrol the area and answer calls from students and staff if unauthorized people are seen in the gym, the doors are being replaced that Director Tyler spoke of.”
“At this point we have not had major issues with unauthorized people when they are identified and asked to leave,” Hall said. “Public Safety continues to work with athletics and other departments on campus to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our community.”
While a small incident could potentially pop up here and there, according to Tyler there does not seem to be cause for immediate alarm. He has assured students that security is a work in progress.
“We are working with facilities to ensure that all exterior doors are secure and will lock,” Tyler said.