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February 19, 2009

Repairs, sanctions continue in Super Bowl victory aftermath

The University is continuing to work through the aftermath of damage and bad behavior that followed this year’s Super Bowl victory celebrations gone too far.

Cleanup of an estimated $48,000 in damages to the Pittsburgh campus is continuing and, as of Feb. 17, 24 students have been subjected to Pitt’s disciplinary process, said Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Robert Hill. That number could rise because investigations “to identify more and call them to account” are continuing, Hill said.

Hill said 21 students are alleged to have participated in disorderly conduct in violation of federal or state laws. Disciplinary action against them includes fines of $250-$500 and 20-25 hours of community service, Hill said.

Two of those 21 were immediately suspended for their role in the destruction of a bus shelter at Forbes Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard.

In addition, three students are being disciplined for burning materials on campus. Two of the three have been suspended. Suspension was recommended for the third, but a hearing had not occurred as of Feb. 17.

All students found to be in violation of the University’s disciplinary code will be placed on a year’s disciplinary probation, which would subject them to sanctions up to and including dismissal from the University if they commit additional violations, Hill said.

Hearings for the four suspended students have been scheduled. In addition, while some of the other students accepted their sanctions, others have felt their punishment too severe and asked for sanction hearings, Hill said.

A cost assessment by Facilities Management estimated at least 282 hours of work by trades and other workers would be needed to repair the damage to the campus. Hill did not know when the work would be finished, but some repairs already have been completed.

Damaged wrought iron tables and paver stones have been reinstalled on the Hillman Library plaza. Graffiti was removed from the portal sign at Forbes and Bellefield avenues and in the vicinity of the library, the Music Building and the law school. Trash cans and ash urns have been refastened near Clapp Hall and the Posvar Hall plaza and a bollard has been replaced outside David Lawrence Hall.

Outside Hillman Library, six broken windows have been replaced and the destroyed bus shelter removed.

Additional work has yet to be done. More pavers, a wrought iron table, planter boxes and light fixtures need to be replaced on the Hillman plaza. Damaged street trees, ground covering and shrubbery in several areas must be replaced, as well as several parking lot signs and sign posts, according to a damage report prepared by Facilities Management.

In addition to cleanup on campus, Pitt officials are working to mend fences with the community. Representatives from the Pitt police have met with the Oakland Community Council and Pittsburgh City Council, Hill said.

In addition, they will accompany the city’s public safety director and chiefs of the city’s police, fire and emergency management services on a walking tour of Oakland next week to develop emergency plans for the future, Hill said.

— Kimberly K. Barlow

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