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August 17, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Bums cause stink in student loos

This sub-head should involve a joke about farts. It doesn’t.

Bums have been bumming around on the Vic Uni grounds, bumming cigarettes off students, and putting their bums on Vic Uni toilets.

The use of the toilet facilities by the homeless has again become a problem at both the Pipitea and Te Aro campuses. As well as loitering around the university, bums have begun to venture into the buildings to use the lavatory.

Students are now used to seeing the home­less in both the men’s and women’s loos.

“As far as I know it was common knowledge down here,” said one student from the Victoria Faculty of Architecture and Design.

With the Te Aro campus being open 8.30am until 5pm weekdays without swipe-card access, any member of the public could use the facilities located on the ground floor. However, certain toilet-goers are more readily identifiable as non-students than others.

“I walked in when a lady was in there, I assume she was homeless by her smell and state,” one student testified.

A posse of “old dudes and ladies” can often be found drinking and cavorting in Cobblestone Park, the green which fronts the school in the heart of the city.

A fourth-year student said that the homeless had been congregating at the council-owned park at Te Aro Campus and using their toilets for years.

She recalled that a friend had encountered a female in the loo in 2006 who had “pissed herself and was talking to herself.”

Fourth-year Industrial Design student James said that though he doesn’t mind them using the toilets, the bums in the park can be intimidating.

“They sit there drinking cask wine and beer, sharing it round like there’s no tomorrow,” he observed.

Anastasia, another fourth year student, was verbally abused when she refused to give a bum-brother a ciggy.

Campus Care, the team responsible for the overall security of the university, was also unaware that the homeless had been using the loos at Te Aro, though they have previously had to remove them from Cobblestone Park.

One incident involved a five man bum-fight in the park. When Campus Carer John was unsuccessful in dispersing the group, he had to call on help.

“I told them to break it up and they didn’t want to, so the police came, and they all got locked up,” he recalled.

Though unaware of the toileting-bums at Te Aro, Campus Care has become vigilant to their counterparts at Pipitea. John says that the bums often use the toilets at Rutherford House.

“The main problem is that they can scare away our students, not wanting to go to the toilet,” he explained.

Incidents have included homeless sitting in the toilets “not even using it.” Students report the situation to Campus Care, who then remove the offensive person. Some more persistent bums have had trespass notices issued.

The university said it was unaware of complaints about bums using the Te Aro campus toilets. Despite this, they are eager to keep the facilities safe.

“We are interested in hearing from anyone who may have seen people other than Victoria students or staff using the Te Aro Campus toilets,” said Jenny Bentley, Director of Facilities Management at Vic.

The use of University facilities raises questions about the availability of public toilets in Wellington Central. The closest public toilets to the Te Aro Campus are either in Pigeon Park, or in Courtney Place.

Industrial Design student James acknowledged the homeless “wouldn’t want to walk to the shelter on Taranaki St, or down to Courtney Place” to relieve themselves. Other students reasoned that they would rather have the homeless use their toilets than “join the pigeons outside.”

Recently, the Wellington City Council has been planning to develop Cobblestone Park, making it safer and more accessible. The landscape plan includes a play terrace for children.

Project Manager Peter McEvoy explained that the area surrounding the park has changed a lot over the years, with more families living in the city. He admitted that the park is “not the best in regards to safety and security,” but this will be remedied by the developments, due for completion March 2010.

It is uncertain where the bums will rest their bums once the park is developed.

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  1. Juliet says:

    “Fourth-year Industrial Design student James said that though he doesn’t mind them using the toilets, the bums in the park can be intimidating.“They sit there drinking cask wine and beer, sharing it round like there’s no tomorrow,” he observed.”

    a) cask wine ain’t so bad.
    b) “sharing” is nice.

    Conclusion: I’m going to hang out there more often.

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