A woman was apprehended by Campus Safety and LAPD for trespassing in Braun residence hall and destroying a printer Oct. 5, according to Director of Campus Safety Rick Tanksley and Braun resident advisor Stephanie Oyolu (sophomore). After conducting a mental health evaluation, LAPD discovered the woman was under the influence of methamphetamines, Tanksley said. According to Tanksley, the woman was let into the building by a student. While no students were harmed, the incident is a reminder of the importance of community safety, according to Tanksley and Oyolu. Campus Safety has responded to an unusually high number of security concerns this semester, according to Tanksley.
Gray Davidson (first year) is a Braun resident and was in the computer lab when the woman entered.
“I was writing my essay and then, all of a sudden, this lady walks in from inside of the dorm so I thought, ‘OK, she’s supposed to be here,’” Davidson said. “She went and started clicking buttons on the printer multiple times for 30 minutes straight, which I thought was really annoying, so I walked outside.”
When he returned about half an hour later, Davidson found the woman vandalizing the printer.
“I saw her ripping open the printer and ripping everything out of the printer,” Davidson said. “At one point she was on the ground, stuffing her own pieces of paper in the printer and spitting in it.”
Davidson said he then left the room and Campus Safety was called by a Braun resident advisor. While students were not allowed in the room after Campus Safety arrived, Davidson witnessed the interaction from outside the room.
“All I could hear was them screaming at her to get on the ground and the lady kept on yelling ‘My brother is inside the printer,’” Davidson said.
Isabelle Russell (first year) is also a Braun resident and witnessed the woman’s interaction with Campus Safety.
“I was heading up the stairs with my friend and we heard a lot of yelling and screaming,” Russell said. “It was just really violent.”
Oyolu arrived at the scene shortly after Campus Safety arrived.
“There was a lot of yelling,” Oyolu said. “They mentioned that they had spoken to her about not returning to campus, meaning she had been here before, and she said ‘Someone let me in, they always let me in,’ so clearly there’s a pattern.”
As Campus Safety and LAPD removed the woman, her behavior continued to alarm students present, according to Oyolu.
“She just did not seem well,” Oyolu said. “When she passed by us she was laughing and it was very uncomfortable.”
Oyolu said this situation was a wake-up call for many people about the importance of not letting strangers into campus buildings.
“This is an ongoing conversation because the campus is open and at the end of the day, there’s not that much we can do other than encouraging people against propping doors open and letting strangers in,” Oyolu said.
Tanksley shared a similar sentiment, pressing Occidental students to be proactive when it comes to protecting student dorms.
“Our residence halls are secure, but they’re not secure if we let strangers in,” Tanksley said. “This was a 41-year-old woman who was disheveled and acting in a very strange way. She should not have been let into the residence hall.”
However, Tanksley also said this may present a challenging situation for students when faced with a stranger trying to gain entrance to a building.
“I don’t want anybody to have to fight, anybody fighting in the entrance hall,” Tanksley said. “But if you see somebody who makes you uncomfortable and you don’t want to confront them, bring it to the immediate attention of your RA or Campus Safety, because not doing so can put people at risk.”
Davidson said that, while he did not find this specific incident dangerous, the lack of security is an issue.
“I never personally felt unsafe during the encounter. I think Campus Safety did a good job of controlling the situation,” Davidson said. “But it concerns me that people are just letting in random people.”
Braun residents did not receive any information from Campus Safety or Residential Education & Housing Services after the incident, according to Russell.
“We didn’t really hear anything else afterwards explaining what happened or what they’re planning to do,” Russell said. “Hopefully the school reaches out to everyone to explain what happened.”