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October 14, 2013 | by  | in News |
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“Hobos” Sleeping in Cybercommons

Students staying at University overnight to finish their assignments are finding that they are not the only ones taking advantage of the 24-hour facilities.

One student reported to Salient that he had seen and talked to homeless people sleeping in the Cybercommons in the course of pulling an all-nighter. The student described the experience as “a bit surreal”, but described the men as “pretty lovely”. He also claimed that their stay was not a one-off occurrence.

“One of them … told me that he was really good at sleeping under desks,” said the student.

Associate Director for Campus Operations Rainsforth Dix told Salient that University security staff “occasionally” found people sleeping on University premises. Dix said security is a high priority for the University, and that University buildings were monitored “around the clock”.

If security staff do find people sleeping under desks, protocol is to ask for identification and escort any non-students off the premises.

“Security staff investigate all reports of people sleeping in University buildings and address each on a case-by-case basis,” said Dix.

“If there was found to be an issue at a specific location, actions could include strengthening security around the area and/or increasing security patrols in the area.”

VUWSA Vice-President (Welfare) Rick Zwaan said VUWSA was aware of students who had been forced to stay overnight, though stated high transport and housing costs were often to blame for this. Students could find themselves stranded with no way to get home, and the Cybercommons were sometimes used as an alternative, he said.

“[VUWSA]’s approach is to address the more fundamental issues over why students are forced to stay overnight.”

Zwaan hoped that restricted access to Cybercommons overnight for non-students would not impinge on students’ access to 24-hour University facilities.

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