Under Investigation: Trespasser Apprehended on Pomona Campus

An unidentified trespasser was apprehended and arrested in the early hours of last Saturday, Jan. 30, on Pomona College’s campus. The trespasser was first encountered near Doms Lounge and arrested an hour later near Bridges Auditorium.

Campus Security handled the incident, working with the Claremont Police Department. “One of our officers noticed a person who was known by Campus Safety to be wanted for past incidents of trespassing and prowling on our campuses,” wrote Kim Lane, the Claremont University Consortium Director of Communications, in an email to TSL. “Our officers approached the subject and were joined by officers from the Claremont police, who had just finished responding to another incident in the area. After a short chase, the suspect was caught and arrested.”

According to the Claremont Police Department's call history record, they received the dispatch at 1:04 a.m. The trespasser, a male wearing a gray sweatshirt and black pants, began to run toward Columbia Avenue. He was then held at gunpoint on the south side of Bridges Auditorium, where he was arrested and removed from campus by 1:19 a.m. 

The situation occurred around the time the BLOC party at Pomona's Smith Campus Center ended. Students who were outside at the time witnessed the event and were instructed to take shelter in Oldenborg. 

“I saw flashing lights, heard at least one, possibly two, helicopter, and heard someone yell ‘Get down on the ground,'” Quinn Clarke PO ’18 wrote in an email to TSL

Pomona students were not officially notified of the situation until Saturday afternoon, when a brief campus-wide email was sent regarding the events on that Saturday. A follow-up email was sent on Thursday, Feb. 4, detailing Oxtoby's call for a review of action surrounding the event as well as promising support for distressed students.  

According to Pomona's Acting Dean of Students Jan Collins-Eaglin, “We do have trespassers because we are a private college, but this is a public space.”

When asked how this trespassing incident differed from the daily use of the college campus by the general public, Collins-Eaglin said, “That’s what we’re trying to figure out. We are going to meet with a number of different people in the president’s meeting.”

In the Feb. 4 email, Collins-Eaglin echoed Campus Safety’s statement that the trespasser in question had a history of prowling and trespassing violations. The exact nature of these violations is unknown.

Additionally, Collins-Eaglin assured students that the College is attempting to review the apparent “breakdown” of communications “with regard to the Connect 5 and Campus Alert systems.” Campus Alert and Connect 5 uses voicemail, text, and email notifications to inform students of potentially dangerous lockdown situations on campus. 

“We’re trying to figure out how this didn’t trigger the Connect 5,” Collins-Eaglin said. “[The college] is doing a lot of investigation around this whole incident.” 

Lane and CUC Campus Safety said that there is a close relationship between the Police Department and Campus Safety in working in situations like these “to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and visitors.”

“Campus Safety and the Claremont Police Department collaborate daily,” wrote Lane. “While this does include jointly responding to emergency calls, we also share information about relevant incidents and trends, work closely on emergency preparedness, and respond to medical aids and assisting with traffic control as needed.”

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