On Apr. 16, the Claremont Police Department was called to Pomona College’s campus because of a cell phone found in a restroom of Mudd-Blaisdell residence hall. The cell phone “contained images of concern” and was “traced to a registered sex-offender” by the Claremont Police Department, according to an Apr. 17 email sent to Pomona students by Jan Collins-Eaglin, Pomona's acting dean of students.
According to Collins-Eaglin and Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth, a Pomona student found the cell phone and came across the images, including several videos, while trying to identify the phone’s owner.
“A Pomona College student came to Campus Safety at about 6 p.m. to report that she had found the cell phone inside a co-ed restroom at Mudd-Blaisdell Residential Hall,” Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL. “Based on the images on the phone, we contacted the Claremont Police Department, as per normal protocol when we suspect criminal activity. They are overseeing the investigation.”
Skipworth wrote that “staff members of Pomona college, along with Campus Safety Officers, reviewed the background portion of images with Claremont police” to determine that the images were not from 5C campuses.
Campus Safety will assist the Claremont Police Department in its investigation of the incident, and Collins-Eaglin said that Campus Safety will report back to Pomona on the status of the investigation.
Both Skipworth and Collins-Eaglin emphasized that students should take this incident as a reminder of the importance of securing residence hall doors.
“While we have no information about how the phone came to be found in a residence hall, I want to take this opportunity to remind students to keep residence doors locked at all times,” Skipworth wrote. “Please avoid propping doors or windows open to the outside and do not allow anyone that you do not know into your residence hall.”
Similarly, Collins-Eaglin said, “The good news is we’re a community, and we feel safe in this community, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we’re not a closed community, so we’ve got to just be aware.”
Collins-Eaglin said that Pomona took responsibility for notifying its students of the incident since it occurred on Pomona’s campus, and the other colleges forwarded the email to their respective student bodies.
“We felt that we had a responsibility to get information out as soon as we could, and so that’s why we took the lead on this,” she said.
The Claremont Police Department could not be reached for comment by the time of publication. Pomona Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault declined to comment but wrote in an email to TSL that Advocates are “always available to talk.” They can be reached at their 24/7 hotline: (909) 503-7922, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.