A vagrant was arrested after entering Aston Hall and falling asleep in the hallway early Saturday morning, exacerbating students’ frustrations about lax security in the residence hall.
Junior Jorge Sanchez said he came back to his Aston Hall room at about 5 a.m. Saturday after a night of clubbing with friends, in honor of his birthday. When he attempted to enter his third-floor room, he found an intoxicated homeless man, with his shoes removed, blocking the entrance.
Sanchez said he contacted University Police twice and his community facilitator, who also contacted UPD. The students said UPD arrived at the hall between 30 and 45 minutes later. A UPD officer arrested the man, and he was charged with unlawful entry by Metropolitan Police.
What have we come to? Sanchez said. I pay so much money, and I fear for my safety and the safety of those around me.
We’re lucky he was just looking for a place to sleep – somebody could have been hurt, said Paul Paftinos, a resident of the Aston who was with Sanchez Saturday morning.
Anthony Roccogrande, associate director of UPD, said the homeless man followed another student into the hall. He said he could not provide the exact time it took officers to arrive at the residence hall. He said the officers did not take as long as the students said.
This latest incident is part of a string of security issues that have plagued the Aston in recent months. Eight computers in the hall were stolen during winter break. Aston residents said they believe their hall is often neglected because they are far from the center of campus.
Students said community service aides are rarely on duty in the Aston, which contributed to the homeless man being able to enter the building.
Anybody can just stroll in or out, Paftinos said. This would not happen in New Hall or any other hall on campus. We should not be neglected because we’re a couple of blocks away – there’s still responsibility.
Roccogrande said his department will look into any concerns students have and make changes if changes appear to be necessary.
Some Aston residents slipped press releases detailing the Saturday morning incident under the doors of all the building’s rooms. Residents held an emergency meeting to address their concerns in the Aston Hall lobby Sunday evening.
The continuation of the sporadic and unreliable security at our residence has and will continue to result in an unsafe living environment for the Aston residents, according to the press release. This threat to our safety must be resolved.