Students and officers discuss transients on campus

by Jaclyn Palumbo

Transients have been a common sight at San Diego State, but their presence on campus around residence halls has become an issue of concern for students living on campus.

“I’ve seen them a lot around the dorms and at the recycling bins near Cuicacalli (Suites), Maya, and Olmeca (residence halls),” resident adviser and social work sophomore Naomi Holokai said.

SDSU is open to the general public at all times, except in areas that have signs indicating student access only the SDSU Police Department Lt. Josh Mays said. Because SDSU is a state-funded institution, SDSUPD is unable to remove transients from campus unless a disturbance is reported.

“I’ve seen the homeless people everywhere. If they’re not sitting somewhere they’re walking around,” business administration freshman Lizeth Jimenez said.

Even though police cannot remove transients without a cause, some on campus dorm residents said action should be taken to prevent them from being around the residence halls.

“It does make me think, wow, there are a lot of homeless people,” Holokai said.  “How can we help them? And what does our school think about it?”

The SDSUPD is aware of the reports, but is unable to remove transients from public areas, including the exterior of the residence halls, unless they were engaged in dangerous or disruptive activity Mays said.

“One’s status of being a homeless person or transient is irrelevant as the campus is open to anyone, including them,” Mays said. “We treat them like we would anybody else.”

There are however some restrictions that can be used to remove transients, says Mays.  Non-residents are prohibited from obstructing public areas or using the campus as a lodging facility.

“If they are sleeping here or blocking an access ramp, we would definitely enforce that,” Mays said. “Usually, it just takes the officers going over and telling them that they can’t sleep there, or whatever the violation might be.”

Some students agreed that the homeless people should not be removed from the campus unless a disturbance is reported.

“If they’re just here and they’re not being indecent, I don’t really see what’s wrong with them being here,” international business junior Sarah White said.

Holokoi also agreed that the transients should not be acted against for walking around.

“I wouldn’t want to kick them out because if being around here is what can help them to get on their feet, then by all means. I don’t want to stop them,” Holokai said.