Students at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) were visited by an unwelcome guest last month when an unidentified woman was found to be sleeping on dorm couches, using school laundry machines, and showering in CMC bathrooms without permission from the school.
According to CMC Residence Advisor (RA) Kevin MacPherson ’12, a student reported the presence of the woman in CMC’s Marks Hall Sept. 13.
“A student from Marks called me and reported a suspicious-looking woman who seemed out of place,” Macpherson wrote in an e-mail to The Student Life. “I searched the building and with the help of a couple of vigilant students, we found her belongings stashed away in a cabinet in the lounge kitchen. Campus Security was alerted [and] did another search of the building, but she had apparently left the dorm,” he wrote.
According to MacPherson, on the following day another student called in a report for a woman matching the intruder’s appearance, whom he described as “a blonde-haired woman in her mid-thirties with fairly tan skin.”
Campus Safety and the Claremont Police Department (CPD) got involved when another report matching this description came in the next day. According to MacPherson, Campus Safety officers confronted the woman, asked her a few questions, and returned her belongings.
“[They gave her] a warning that stepping on a 5C campus in the future would be considered trespassing and legal action would be taken,” MacPherson wrote.
According to Director of Campus Safety Shahram Ariane, residence hall spaces differ from public spaces in that non-students are not allowed access.
“If the space is designated by the Claremont Colleges as a ‘public access’ area, such as the library, the person does not have to be a student, and as long as they do not violate its rules, they may be present,” Ariane wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “Other areas such as the students’ residential buildings are considered ‘non-public access’ areas and thus contain more restrictions as they relate to non-students.”
MacPherson acknowledged that the actions of the intruder were unlawful, but he pointed out that she appeared harmless and that he sympathized with her position.
“No thefts or hostile action was reported [to] Campus Security regarding her presence,” he wrote. “It’s my best guess she was a little behind on her luck and was looking for a warm and safe place to sleep.”
CMC students did not appear to be concerned about the intrusion or the campus security system that would have allowed such an intruder to take up residence in the building.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Miles Kvalheim CM ’12 said of the incident. “There are a lot of townies around here, and even if people saw [her] they probably wouldn’t say anything.”
MacPherson said the presence of non-students on campus is not unusual.
“Non-students will likely always come to the 5Cs to take advantage of the social life and amazing atmosphere,” he wrote. “I can totally see why people would want to come here and join the party—we obviously have a lot of fun here.”