With the intent to use the stairs inside Turpin Stadium for her routine exercise one day, senior Katy Bordelon was surprised to find the gates were locked. She then posted on the Student Concerns Facebook group wondering if the stadium was truly not open to students and why.
“Athletic facilities, except for the tennis complex, are not available for recreational use,” responded Greg Burke, director of athletics. This shocked several students who have used the stadium without issues in the past.
“The main reason for this policy revolves around avoiding liability and safety issues that could take place at a time when nobody is present to provide assistance,” Burke said, noting that recreational use of athletic facilities has “never been permitted,” and that paying tuition or taxes does not necessarily grant access to public facilities.
While Bordelon understood Burke’s concerns, she was ruffled since there was no notice given about the policy enforcement, which she felt not only showed no transparency but a lack of respect for students who enjoyed using the location.
“We have cops that could be put out during certain hours so students can have access,” she said, also suggesting security cameras as an option to avoid limiting public use of the stadium.
In the past, Burke has seen unauthorized use of the field and has asked people to leave on those occasions.
“Through the years, there have been instances when the use of athletic facilities for recreational purposes by students or the public resulted in damages or, at a minimum, excessive wear and tear,” he said. Burke did not specify if there was a specific instance that prompted the change in rule enforcement.
Junior Logan Turner also chimed in on the issue, annoyed by “NSU’s lack of transparency and communication.”
“We need transparency in our school’s leadership, and I honestly do not see that,” he said. “It makes me really frustrated as a student and a lover of this institution.”
Assistant Professor Dr. Allison Rittmayer responded to the forum listing examples of college stadiums that remain open to the public and suggesting a group exercise class that meets in the stadium as one way to provide controlled access.
“I think there are ways to have stadiums open to the public or at select times that cover any liability NSU could incur that we could look into,” she said.