UPD nabs men soliciting sex

University Police barred 20 men from campus for soliciting sex in the Marvin Center men’s bathrooms, ending UPD’s two-week undercover operation Friday, University administrators said.

The men solicited plain-clothed male UPD officers for sexual favors in the Marvin Center bathrooms, UPD Director Dolores Stafford said.

The operation comes after years of concern over illegal activities in the men’s restrooms and recent attention to a Web site listing the bathrooms as a prime spot for sexual activity, Director of Public Affairs Barbara Porter said.

Historically this has been a problem, Porter said. We’ve received complaints from students and staff in the building.

According to an Oct. 8 posting on www.cruisingforsex.com, University police have begun a sting operation. Undercover officers will give signals to start the action.Cameras cover all restrooms and recordings are made and saved.

Bell Hall, Corcoran Hall, the Marvin Center and the School of Business and Public Management have bathrooms where men can meet and have sex, according to the Web site. The site has updated the status of enforcement in bathrooms.

The Web site outlines the accessibility of sex in bathrooms around campus. According to www.cruisingforsex.com, there are cruisy toilet(s) on (the) lower level, ground and third floor of the Marvin Center. But, according to a June 1999 update of the Web site, visitors to the bathroom should be aware of law enforcement.

Cameras may have been installed in the Marvin Center, but that hasn’t stopped anybody, according to the Web site. Action is great. Take your prize catch to the fourth or fifth floor if you need more privacy.

Porter said the University views the Web site as a positive deterrent of illegal activity.

We’re not at all upset it’s on the Web, she said.

Those barred from campus were given a first warning, and arrests may be the next step if they are caught again, Stafford said.

To my knowledge, the bulk of them were not affiliated with GW, Porter said.

The sting operation follows other methods aimed at deterring such individuals.

When UPD first became aware of the activities several years ago, several steps were implemented to curb those activities, Porter said. UPD installed cameras at the entrances to all Marvin Center bathrooms, Marvin Center management staff regularly checked the bathrooms, and there was a constant UPD patrol, Porter said.

Keith Griffith, who identified himself as the cruisemaster for www.cruisingforsex.com, wrote in an e-mail that the toilets at your University have been sexually active for decades. He wrote that the Web site is a popular site for gay men and lists tens of thousands of places all over the world where men meet for sexual encounters around the world.

My Web site is no different from your student newspaper, Griffith wrote. I provide a very specialized news service to tell guys where to find sex and also what places should be avoided.

Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student Academic and Support Services, said if the activity in the Marvin Center persists, some bathrooms would only be accessible with a GWorld card.

This issue didn’t occur overnight, and it isn’t going to go away overnight, he said.

Other options include a student and staff patrol of the bathrooms and bathroom attendants, Gargano said.

This is against the law, Porter said. We want it not to happen on our campus.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.