Some students are concerned about maintenance workers appearing in their dorms unannounced and about them leaving dorm room doors open.
The concern resulted in students wondering why they aren’t notified of maintenance work on campus and questioning how they can discern a facilities worker from a potentially dangerous person.
No heads up
Kathryn Sugianto’s personal belongings were damaged Dec. 7 and her door was left open by people she assumes were maintenance workers.
Sugianto, a mass communications freshman, said she felt apprehensive about opening the door for workers because she wasn’t aware there would be construction happening.
“It was out of nowhere in the morning,” Sugianto said. “They could have been anyone. I didn’t want to be rude if they were maintenance workers, so I let them in. If not for them wearing their shirts and holding gear, I wouldn’t be able to tell.”
Sugianto left her Banning Hall dorm room to go to class and returned to find two doors in her hall left open with no one inside. There was debris around her room and a red wire hanging from her ceiling. On top of that, a ceiling tile was missing and one of her posters was ripped on the ground.
Sugianto said she would have felt more at ease if they had left a note apologizing for the damage. She also said she was upset that her door was left open with all of her personal property inside.
“If I had known before that they were coming, I would have put my posters away,” Sugianto said. “I would have been awake. I just wish I had been notified.”
At the beginning of the semester, Sugianto said workers were perched on the ledge outside her window. She left her window open one night and awoke confused to find a man standing on the ledge.
Marae Narvaez, acting sophomore, had her phone stolen while she was walking to the vending machine on the second floor of Methodist Hall. She left her door unlocked for a moment because the knob was broken at the time, and she noticed a man in a red hoodie had seen that she couldn’t lock her door.
“I came back after like three minutes and my phone was missing from my room,” Narvaez said. “My roommate came in like three minutes after I had called my phone and it went straight to voicemail, which was weird because it had full charge, so it was very clear it had been stolen and someone turned it off.”
Narvaez filed a police report; then Harrison Langford, acting sophomore, noticed an unconscious man who matched the description on the couch in the breezeway.
Langford and Jordan Dorsey, acting sophomore, called campus police. They arrested the man, but they did not see Narvaez’s phone until Langford found it wedged between the couch cushions.
Langford called campus police to let them know the phone was found. Narvaez decided not to press charges.
Darilynn Hammond, director of Banning Hall and housing coordinator, sent a Dec. 6 email to Banning Hall residents, urging them to exercise safety when allowing people in the dorms.
“I would like to caution, please ensure that you do not prop the entrance doors open or allow unfamiliar people into the building,” Hammond wrote.
“Please contact Campus Police immediately if you have suspicions and close any door that you notice being propped open.”
Maintenance workers and university employees always should wear some form of identification, said Michael Burns, director of housing and residence life. For instance, facilities workers are required to wear an “OCU Facilities” shirt. Some workers wear a jacket during the winter, so their shirt may not be visible, but they’re still supposed to carry identification of some sort, Burns said.
Any contractors hired by OCU are issued a contractor access card.
Burns said he is aware of doors being left open, and said students should close doors if they see this happening and to notify the nearest person of authority, whether that’s an RA or a police officer.
Burns also said students should refrain from allowing unknown individuals into buildings.
“No one should let anyone else in ever, not even another student,” Burns said. “There’s no reason. Anyone who is supposed to be there has a card.”
Filing a report
Remy Barnett, Title IX investigator, said students should file a Title IX report if they feel unsafe in their dorms or if they feel like their belongings are at risk.
Students can file a report by contacting Barnett or Joey Croslin, Title IX coordinator. Title IX deals with protection from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender.
Barnett can be contacted at email@example.com or (405) 208-6310.
Croslin’s office can be found in the President’s Suite in Clara Jones Administration Building, and she can best be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 208-5075.
Barnett said students should contact campus police at (405) 208-5001 for non-emergencies and (405) 208-5911 for emergencies.
“It’s definitely a priority for us that people feel safe,” Barnett said.