“Please Be Advised That All Gates Will Be Closed at 5:30”

I’ve heard people talk about this but always thought it had the ring of something apocryphal:

Gate closing memo 1963

I’m not sure I understand why this was necessary and I certainly don’t have any recollection of it happening in recent times.

Bonus: Sightseeing today. Too tired to talk. Also too tired to hold my camera steady.



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20 Responses to “Please Be Advised That All Gates Will Be Closed at 5:30”

  1. marmer01 says:

    The closing of the gates for 24 hours has happened for several years and I believe still happens. The explanation that I heard long ago was that it was necessary so that the University’s roads would continue to be privately owned and not be annexed by the City. I don’t know if that is true.

    • Richard A. Schafer says:

      The university, like many private road owners, does not want to take any chances that the private road may be considered dedicated to the public. I don’t know whether state law says they have to close at least once a year or whether there are court cases that say closing the road at least once a year is sufficient to avoid dedication to the public. Apparently the rule allows one entrance and one exit to remain open and still make the closure happen. Usually the closure is on a holiday like July 4, when not many people will be on campus.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    Any idea when they do it? In the middle of Christmas break or something like that?

  3. Don Johnson says:

    Carl told me the same reason behind the road closure. I recall it being July 4.

  4. A similar closure was done in the outdoor plaza of the office building I worked in when I lived in Denver. Pedestrian access was denied for 24 hours each year to keep the plaza from being public property under Colorado law. That was many years ago, back in the late 60s or early 70s.

  5. Steve Weakley '72 says:

    Also, an easement by prescription requires that the adverse use be “continuous.” In order to prevent an easement by prescription, blocking the use for one day a year defeats the continuity argument.

  6. John Polking says:

    I, too remember that July 4 was the date of the road closure. The reason was to prevent one of the roads being declared a public throughway, as several people have mentioned.

    For those of you who think it no longer happens, I parked my car on campus and took the train down town last night. I got back shortly after midnight. The only way I could find to get off campus was through the Stockton exit near the police department. I also had trouble after the Rice baseball game last week that lasted until the wee hours. The clear impact is that the university is closing up sometime after midnight — every night. I did not realize that was the policy. Does any one know for sure?

    • Melissa Kean says:

      This is the first I’ve heard of it, but I’m usually asleep by about 9:30. I salute your ability to stay awake.

    • James C Cooper says:

      The gates (except for the one by the police station) have been closed at midnight since… well, I don’t know. Certainly since 1998; almost certainly earlier.

      They’re usually pretty prompt, though it seems they’ve been a little fast recently.

  7. Dagobert L. Brito says:

    I had that experience in 1994 when I took my wife to the hospital and then tried to park on campus after midnight. The only way to get on campus was Entrance 8 on Stockton. I asked Neil Binford about the policy and he told me that one reason was the problem with an prescriptive easements and another reason was campus safety.

  8. Keith Cooper says:

    Rice began closing the gates at night sometime in the early 1990s, at the suggestion of an ad-hoc committee on something or other related to safety. The basic rationale behind the suggestion was that reducing the number of exits from campus would discourage potential troublemakers from entering the campus. It had an immediate effect. Rice had been seeing a raft of break-ins to parked cars; that mischief moved almost overnight into Southampton and Southgate.

    Initially, the entrances were closed with chains and sawhorses; those were replaced, within a year or two, by operable gates at the entrances where practical.

    • John Polking says:

      I can state with certainty that they still use chains and sawhorses at some exits.

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      There also was the issue with TMC employees taking advantage of the free parking especially in the college lots on main and around allen center. This was another factor that went into gating the entrances as well

  9. John Polking says:

    They use chains and sawhorses even where there are operable gates.

  10. John Deuel says:

    I remember when it was just a July 4th weekend event, and I also remember the “keep the roads private” justification. Unrelated, your sightseeing picture is from the Apple store balcony in GCT. Hope you enjoyed your stay!

  11. Correct. Gates close at midnight, or thereabouts. The Stockton entrance is the only one which stays open. Interestingly enough, I thought this had always been the case instead of having been instituted in the early 1990’s as Keith stated. Rice old-timers will remember that Shadyside wasn’t always gated. That happened about 1985 or so.

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      When I was there (1971 -> 1976) all gates except for the one to the president’s home at the corner of main & sunset and the gates on the west side of the football stadium were always open. Over the weekend of July 4, all of the entrances except for one or two (Main & sunset and probably Stockton) were blocked off with chains and sawhorses for 24 hours and staff/faculty were reminded. This continued for a few years after I went to BCM.

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