Signage in the on-campus park indicates “Sewell Park is for use by Texas State students, faculty and staff only,” and a Texas State I.D. is required for entrance. However, the rule is not strictly enforced, particularly during the summer, said John Johnson, assistant director of cam- pus recreation.
“I know sometimes college students get frustrated at the first of the
summer when there are families and high school students out here, but (Texas State) treats this like a public park,” said Johnson. “That’s the easiest way to manage Sewell.”
Johnson said Sewell Park is solely funded and maintained by Texas State. He said the park should be a fun and safe place for all members of the community to enjoy.
Johnson said the restriction is used more to oust individuals causing problems in the park, whether students or not, than to keep a tight watch on who uses the park.
For example, if the University Police Department receives a complaint about an intoxicated person in Sewell Park, they will ask the person for identification. If they are a student,refers them to the dean of students’ office. If the person is not associated with the university, they can be banned from the area.
UPD Captain Daniel Benitez said the restriction allows his officers to handle small problems by kicking out the individual rather than pursuing criminal action or arresting the person causing a problem.
Benitez said it is one of the many benefits of a close relationship between the City of San Marcos and Texas State.
Benitez said most complaints come in spurts and they are not overwhelming. He said problems in the park are usually the cause of a mixture of students and non-students.
He said effective management of park behavior is necessary to retaining Sewell Park’s value.
“Texas State is proud of its unique park,” Benitez said. “It is a place where many students have fond memories and a place they show their family and friends who visit San Marcos.”
Sunjana Venkat, marketing senior, said she has noticed families and high school students using the park. She said it would be “impossible” to enforce the restriction.
“As long as (the non-students) are not violating the rules or littering, then I don’t really have a problem with it,” Venkat said. Ryan Elliott, associated student government senator, said he has no- ticed people not affiliated with the university at Sewell Park, but has not heard many complaints.
Elliott said the park is a safe area for members of the community to enjoy, and the university should not go to “extreme lengths” to ban non- students.
“The usage of Sewell by both students and the community creates a homogenous environment that adds flavor to our brilliant town,” Elliott said. “If any sort of regulation or tightening of policy is adhered, I believe it should come from the students’ voice, and not some suit sit- ting in an office chair.”