Lake leapers make waves

By Stephen Neukam 

Centennial Lake collects a fair amount of campus trash including the mask pictured above. A large group of individuals was filmed jumping into the lake early on Sept. 27. An investigation has been opened for the incident.

A large group of individuals was filmed jumping into Centennial Lake in the early hours of Sept. 27, many down to their underwear and without masks, spiking concerns about coronavirus protections and raising suspicions about who was responsible.

Students gathered around Centennial Lake, many without masks, spurring an investigation.

The videos, viewed thousands of times on social media, show at least 20 people gathered closely around the lake. A second video shows the group running from the lake toward residence halls after a Public Safety officer responded. 

Public Safety says it was unable to identify any of the individuals at the scene or through nearby security footage. The incident is under investigation. 

A portion of the videos has piqued speculation about who the group was, with someone running from the scene yelling, “we’re track people, baby, don’t [f—] with us.” 

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Reactions on social media agonized over the irresponsibility of the individuals and stood in horror over the conditions of the lake, with one Twitter user saying “that lake [is] so dirty.” 

The lake is a man-made home to a variety of plant and animal species. Trash regularly collects in the water.

Geological, Environmental and Marine Sciences Department Chair and Associate Professor Kathleen Browne has worked on research with the fish and plant life in the lake, but said she would “not recommend” swimming in the water.

Associate Vice President of University Marketing and Communications Kristine Brown said the university was aware of the incident but would not comment because of the pending investigation. 

“However, if anyone has information to assist with this investigation, they are encouraged to contact Public Safety,” said Brown.

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