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Breytopia fans barred from gathering

Chris Hine and Bill Brink | Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Students and Irish fans who have camped out before basketball games in what some have nicknamed “Breytopia,” in honor of men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, were asked to vacate the area near the Joyce Center on Feb. 22.

University officials did not say why this occurred, but one official said the practice will probably not be allowed in the future.

According to du Lac, students wishing to assemble on campus grounds must apply for permission with the Student Activities Office. The members of the camp near gate 11 of the Joyce Center did not apply for this permission.

In the past, NDSP did not ask the campers to leave, even though it knew about previous gatherings, according to senior Kyle Miller, who helped organize the camp.

However, two days before Notre Dame’s game against Syracuse, an NDSP officer told students to abandon their camp or face possible disciplinary action from Residence Life, Miller said.

Bill Kirk, associate vice president for Residence Life, said the University will likely prohibit students from forming camps similar to Breytopia in the future.

“While I understand and share the desire of students to show their support for the team in advance of important games, I think that there are better and safer ways to do so than ‘camping out,'” Kirk said in an e-mail to The Observer. “For some time now, the University has discouraged the practice and for several reasons, primarily related to safety and security. I don’t expect that we would be inclined to grant approval to do so anytime in the future.”

Miller said NDSP did not explain to the students why they were asked to leave this time.

“They’ve known about it every time we’ve done it,” Miller said. “This particular time they decided to enforce the rule.”

Phil Johnson, director of NDSP, said he did not know why the campers weren’t asked to move on other occasions, but said it is NDSP policy to ask students who assemble on campus grounds without a permit to leave.

“If a group doesn’t have permission to use campus grounds, it wouldn’t be uncommon for us to ask them to discontinue what they’re doing,” Johnson said.

In his e-mail to The Observer, Kirk did not respond to questions regarding why students were asked to move on this specific occasion and not in the past.

Miller said he has been camping out for basketball games since he was a freshman. On previous occasions, he said NDSP officers have come by the camp to “make sure nobody gave us a hard time,” but never asked the campers to leave.

This season, Miller said he and dozens of other students camped out before the games against Pittsburgh, DePaul and Marquette before NDSP asked them to leave prior to the Syracuse game.

Karen Langley contributed to this story.