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February 02, 1990 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-02-02
This is a tabloid page

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_ . _, ,'

~He s
his e
u abb
"The tunnels bring the centra4'
heaing steam to the buildings uildin
on campus," says Ke~n school
>au ry, managar for the hv tt
niversity's0til ties Syst riiyu
They carry hot at r o
compressed air, 11 _-
lines,o IQalarea netwi4-&t -
clock signa, ans hen
pressure steam for sterilizers." explore


Jelow thnn-e
'I"'whousek Q

his friends were attempting to
4inivertity President Harold
r.a"We were going to try to cut
Pif,"iie laid, "but we got


nd Ann Arbor
ts will enter and
the tunnels. In fact.

Built to allow easy repair
access to pipes and wiring, the
University of Michigan steam
tunnels are wide and tall
enough in most places for
people to walk comfortably.
All told, the tunnel system
comprises more than six miles
of underground passageways,
connecting nearly every

many underground walls are
covered with grafitti.
How do students get in?
Beaudry wasn't sure. "How
do students do anything?"
In addition to basement
entrances from most buildings,
there are many entrances
through sidewalk grates and
streethole covers. Contrary to

rumoI, only two of the kiosks
actua ly cover tunnel
entrances. And those two are
"purely for ventilation,"
iBeauory said; someone who
climbled to the top of a kiosk
would have a 25-foot fall into
the tunnel and no way to get
back out.Sidewalk entrances
are padlocked, and doors
leading from buildings are
always locked. Occasionally,
however, crews doing
maintenance or repair work
neglect to lock up at the end of
the day.
Some students may be able
to enter and roam the tunnels
without being detected, but
those who get caught are not
treated with leniency.
University Assistant Director
of Public Safety Robert Pifer
said tunnel explorers, if caught,
are prosecuted for illegal entry
into University property. And
though Pifer refused to
acknowledge it, there are many
motion detecters which let
Public Safety officials know
when and where people are
roaming the tunnels.
T T n.1 1 a + nn n nir

tunnels, and said
they "could be
injured, or
damage things",
by exploring th
Still, not all
students heed
this warning,
despite the threat
of prosecution.
One University
student caught in
the tunnels in
1986 was
prosecuted by the
Ann Arbor police,
and fined $180.
In addition, the
student was
placed on
probation for a
year and
compelled to perform 72 hours
of community service.
The student, who along with
two friends gained access to
the tunnels through the School
of Education Building, said he
explored the passages for four

hours before getting caught.
"I set off a motion detector
near the Art Museum," said
the student, who spoke on
condition of anonymity. "The
next thing we knew, there
were two cops who jumped

down on us."
He said he and his friends
were attempting to get below
then-University President
Harold Shapiro's house. "We
were going to try to cut his
electricity off," he said, "but
we got nabbed."
The student said there were
fewer motion detectors four
years ago than there are now.
"Before they had the
detectors, people were down
there a lot," he said.
Public Safety officials would

not comment on the motion
detectors, and said it was
policy not to discuss campus
security measures. "I couldn't
comment on any security
device that's in use in any
University building," Pifer
However, seasoned
spelunkers say there are
detectors near the connections
to most buildings, especially
those containing valuable
equipment or sensitive
information, such as the

Chemistry Building, the Art
Museum, the Fleming
Administration Building, the
Institute for Social Research,
and the libraries.
Another University student
was arrested after gaining
access to the tunnels near the
University Hospital. He and
some friends entered the
tunnels several times, through
Mary Markley residence hall
and a hospital parking
The first time he entered
the tunnels, the student said,
"We were just wandering
r und looking for something
do at Markley and found the
After getting caught, the
student said Public Safety
fofficials threatened to expel
him from the University, but
never followed through with
the threat. "They catch a
bunch of people every year,"
e said. "They always say they
can throw people out, but they
never do."
The University has no policy
[for expelling students who are
Unconvicted of misdemeanor, or
(qeven felony, crimes.
Though the student and his
Vfriends were not expelled, they
Jwere sentenced to community
-service and placed on
don't let go..." long before we
could even see the radio.
When we got closer, we
were shocked to see a radio,
covered with an inch of dust,
plugged into a wall. We have
no idea if it is still playing, or
how long it has been there.
It was still playing, however,
when we sprinted by it on our
way back out. After accidently
activating one of the several
motion detectors in the tunnel
system, we hurriedly
scampered back out of the

probation by an Ann Arbor in "In te of
district judge. on way to gdtinv
Public safety officer Vernon th criminal j stic
Baisden said students really that students 'vou
have no reason to be curious wa t to svoid."
about the tunnel system. he legal dang
"There really is nothing d1own oft.Drdp-offs,
there," he saidy I is _ surfaces, dangerd
hazardous people who are't pipes, electrical '
trained." e ed asbestos
Baisdet id some stuients e r ti r x
enter they nels without o1 sti
being full ware of what
they're git g therevs-
k -2

7 - -
' : , o
\ti ,
E ;
,k . .

wandering through the tunnels
"about four or five times"
every year.
He cautioned curious
students from entering the
a ~

The perils of tunnellin

In preparing to write an
informative article about the
University's tunnel system, we
decided to do a little
investigatvie reporting. This
investigation took on many
aspects, including a little -
excursion into the heart of the
steam tunnels.
We had heard the rumors.
Some excited students told us
of dead bodies or secret
treasures; others claimed to
know of a wide, subterranean
tunnel connecting the Fleming

Administration Building and
the Union, used to provide
secret escapes for the Board o
And while this lore may be a
tad exaggerated, the tunnels
did provide a fair amount of
For instance, we happened
along a radio in a tunnel
underneath Mason Hall. The
radio itself wouldn't have been
so startling, had it not been
blaring full blast - we could
hear "hold on loosely, but

tunnels. M were treated td
"Love Shack" a," an by.
Other items of oo : We .
came across a seve tgreler
puddles in various ld atilhsin
the passages - we never
discovered whether the "green-
gook," as we called it, was
Be wary of so-called "tunnel,
experts." The one who
showed us around set off a
motion detector,naly
marring our blank cime

Ad the heat wi
un earable. Whe
U iv rsity refers
pas ages as am
becuse thpqjre
'o clos we'dl
wamig-,The t-ni
apealt the moss
adfnturous (and
sector of the stud
you're not into ho
tight spaces, or g<
arrested, you'd pi
miserable time.

Not only does the Daily not condone illegal entry into the tunnels, we're not even g
sanctimoniously help you by printing a map. Curious't6 see one? Pick up this month's



FeFbruy 2,1990

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