Safety and Security seeks vandal

by Ashley Ulrich | 11/21/11 11:00pm

Safety and Security officers have been conducting interviews with students who were in the building at the time of the Nov. 6 vandalism.
by Katie Tai / The Dartmouth

"We've interviewed between 30 and 50 people so far," Kinne said. "Some people have given us very good information. A lot of people didn't know very much, but those that had information were able to point us in a few new directions. Everyone who came in has been very cooperative."

Homophobic and derogatory remarks were found scrawled on a window on the ground floor common room in Fahey-McLane on Nov. 6.

Kinne declined to comment on whether Safety and Security had identified a specific individual or group that may be responsible for the crime.

"We're very much in the investigative stage right now," he said.

Kinne said that Safety and Security emailed students to come to Safety and Security's main office for a brief interview. The emails were intentionally vague to lessen students' concern about talking to Safety and Security, he said.

"We just wanted to make sure the students felt comfortable, and would be open and honest," Kinne said. "Usually we don't go into too much detail about specific crimes via email."

Safety and Security has made progress in the investigation by compiling students' accounts of any time they spent in the building that night, Kinne said. Officers have tapped into access control data which includes an archive of everyone who swiped into a dorm building with their ID cards at any given time to identify students to speak with, Kinne said.

"Access control data give us a record of who came in which doors at what times," Kinne said. "Access records plus personal accounts have helped us develop a good understanding of where people were that night."

Jay Keating '15, who lives on the second floor of McLane, said he received an email from Safety and Security sergeant Rebel Roberts on Nov. 15 asking him to visit the Safety and Security main office for an interview the next morning.

"The blitz I received was pretty vague, asking me to come in about a complaint," Keating said. "I replied asking what the interview was about, but the sergeant wouldn't elaborate until we talked in her office."

Roberts was initially forceful with her questions, Keating said.

"She just kept asking if I knew anything about the vandalism," Keating said. "It was a week and a half after the incident, and at first I had trouble remembering where I was that night. After I remembered that I had two midterms that week and I had been at the library, the sergeant was a lot more friendly."

Emily Uniman '15, who lives on the second floor of Fahey, said she also received an email from Roberts on Nov. 16.

"I got the email about a complaint and was confused at first, because it didn't really say what the complaint was about," Uniman said. "When everyone was getting asked to come in to [Safety and Security], I started to realize what it was about."

Uniman said that Roberts' questions were very direct.

"She asked me if I did it, and obviously I said I hadn't," Uniman said. "Besides that, she just asked me to recount where I was the night of the vandalism between [1 a.m. and 4 a.m.]"

Uniman said she was surprised that more people had not been asked to speak with Safety and Security.

"The sergeant told me that [Safety and Security] was interviewing anyone who came into the building between 1 and 4," Uniman said. "But on a Saturday night, that should be almost everyone. Both my roommates were emailed to come in, but a lot of people on my floor weren't."

A male member of the Class of 2015 who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive subject matter of the case said he was "very confused" by the original email he received from Roberts.

"I looked up Roberts's history working with sexual assault cases, and was really worried even though I know I didn't do anything wrong," the student said. "It was a really intimidating email. I was totally confused and didn't know why Safety and Security wanted to talk to me."

If a student were to not reply to the email, a Safety and Security officer would go directly to the student's dorm room to ask the student questions, Kinne said.

"Generally we follow up with people if we don't hear back via email," Kinne said. "If we still don't hear back, we'll go back and knock on that student's door. I'm not sure that's happened in this investigation yet, but that's the general protocol."

If Safety and Security determines that a particular student committed the crime, the case will be passed on to Judicial Affairs, Kinne said.

Uniman said that she and Roberts discussed the possibility of installing a camera outside Fahey-McLane or inside the main floor common room during their interview.

"We like having privacy in the dorm, but this isn't alright," Uniman said. "Someone came into my room earlier in the year and stole a bunch of stuff from my dorm. I have friends that had the same thing happen to them. I'd almost prefer that there were cameras."

Kinne said that for now, installing cameras outside Fahey-McLane or inside the common rooms "was not in the cards," although he emphasized that the investigation of the vandalism is still ongoing.

"This incident was very detrimental to the community, so we're pursuing any avenues that we can find," Kinne said. "We're going to keep the investigation open until we've exhausted every possible lead that we've got."

Fahey-McLane is a popular target of theft due to its central location, Rohail Premjee '14, the resident of the gender-neutral floor who discovered the vandalism at approximately 3:15 a.m. on Nov. 6, said in a previous interview with The Dartmouth.

"Anyone from our community should be able to access all the buildings on campus, but the building is abused because of its location," Premjee said.