Thursday, November 8, 2007

KANSAS: Wall Being Built Around Native American University

All walled up at Haskell


If some national officials have their way, the Great Wall of Haskell could become a reality.

Representatives from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security toured Haskell Indian Nations University Monday to discuss placing a wall or fence around the campus' perimeter. The reps were in town to conduct a security assessment and formulate a recommendation for Haskell's safety.

Patrick Vacha, member of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said the security checks were effective.

"The security assessments we do are all-hazard," Vacha. "We take into account intruders coming in and people not being allowed access to facilities."

Haskell officials are tossing around the idea of a wall that would close the now-open university, allowing passage at only two points. Though university officials say securing the perimeter of the 320-acre campus would keep students safer, not all students agree.

"I don't see what a wall or barrier, whether it's a natural landscape or fence, wall or whatever, would really do anything as far as enhancing security," said Jimmy Beason, editor of "The Indian Leader".

Within 45 days, the visiting representatives should issue a recommendation to Haskell. University officials will then poll students like Beason on their opinion and work on a security implementation plan.

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