Students spooked by bears

Lauren Collins, Features Editor

Pitt-Johnstown’s campus is known by some as a large plot of land with forest and wildlife.

Along with the forest’s presence, there is a threat of student-animal close encounters.

Pitt-Johnstown seniors Brittany Popchak and Sara Stultz experienced an encounter with the wild Sept. 4 in front of their Timberline townhouse.

“Around 1 a.m, Sara and I were walking back to our townhouse from Woodland. Our roommate shoved us inside and ran toward the RA’s door screaming to get inside because there were bears,” Popchak said.

Stultz said that she noticed a cub in a tree in front of Timberline during the incident and a larger bear, presumably the mother, behind the cub near the Woodland townhouses.

“The RA called the campus police after our roommate told him what was going on and they came down to make sure everyone was inside and safe,” Stultz said.

Popchak said the police officers were surprised that the bears came so close because they normally don’t like noise.

“The cops said they saw another cub, too. So, really there were three bears,” Popchak said.

Last Tuesday, a campuswide e-mail was sent by University officials to explain the bear situation.

The e-mail included information that a bear had been captured and relocated by the state Game Commission.

Tips and reminders also were included in the e-mail regarding garbage disposal and animal feeding.

Popchak said she was confused by the e-mail because the text hinted that only one bear – not three – had been accounted for.

“I never thought I could be mauled by a bear on my college campus, but, from what I can tell, it’s still possible. They didn’t relocate all of them,” Popchak said.