As students return to school today, some of them might encounter unusual creatures while walking on campus.
These virtual creatures are known as Pokémon and can be seen through the Pokémon Go application, which launched on July 6. The app, which is available for both Android and IOS users, has received 100 million downloads for Android as of press time.
In Pokémon Go, players are required to explore their real-world surroundings in order to gain experience points and “hatch” eggs. While doing so, they might encounter a wild Pokémon, which they then can catch.
However, for some users, searching for these virtual creatures can involve going through certain areas at various times of the day that might be prohibited.
Such was the case with UTRGV student Dalia Orozco, who sent an email July 22 to The Rider in which she wrote that while playing on the Texas Southmost College campus, a security guard told her his supervisor didn’t want Pokémon Go players on campus.
The TSC campus is adjacent to the UTRGV Brownsville campus.
The security guard didn’t mention anything about allowing access to people who go to the campus for exercise, Orozco wrote in the email.
She was not available for an interview because of scheduling conflicts.
American Surveillance Cpl. Leopoldo Menchaca said because of security purposes, the campus is closed after hours.
Menchaca did not provide any further information and directed The Rider to the TSC administration.
Edgar Chrnko, TSC director of Marketing and Community Relations, said the college allows the public to come onto campus as long as it is during operating hours.
“TSC doesn’t have any policy prohibiting Pokémon Go players or anyone else in the community to visit the campus,” Chrnko said. “On the contrary, we welcome visitors to come and get to know the campus.”
The community college is open between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. every weekday.
During other times, anyone can come on campus since it is a public place. However, a TSC security guard may ask them to leave the premises since the campus is considered closed, Chrnko said.
“If a person refuses to leave the premises after they were asked to leave by TSC security, which is when a building or the campus is closed, well then TSC security will contact Brownsville Police,” he said. “In that case, if Brownsville Police has to intervene, well then it would probably charge the person with criminal trespass.”
As previously reported by The Rider, the UTRGV Police Department released safety tips through social media for the campus community.
–Do not play while driving.
–Do not trespass on private property.
–Watch where you are walking at all times.
–Be aware of your surroundings
–Playing with friends is safest rather than playing alone.
–Do not play Pokémon Go in a secluded area or places you would not usually go.
–Do not ride your bike, skateboard or hoverboard while playing Pokémon Go.
–Be aware of people, cars, bikes, construction sites, lawn mowers, trees, ditches, ponds, ledges, hills and holes.
–Be extra cautious when approached by strangers.
For more information on the interactive map that shows the active areas to play Pokémon Go, visit www.utrgv.edu/umc/public-relations/social-media/pokemon-go-tips/index.htm.