Class Signals: Stranger follows student into Bliss Hall

By Alyssa Gautieri
Production Manager

Every week, Production Manager Alyssa Gautieri hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

In October, the College heightened its security measures after an intruder was caught on security footage sneaking into dorm rooms. The intruder reportedly entered Decker and New Residence halls in the early hours of the morning on different occasions. An emergency text alert from the College was sent to students to warn them of the intruder: a 5-foot-9 white male with a thin face reportedly wearing light shorts and a dark shirt. In October 2005, a similar incident occurred on campus in which an older man uninvitedly entered a classroom in Bliss Hall.

A middle-aged man reportedly smelling of alcohol interrupted a 4 p.m. romanticism class being taught by Harriet Hustis, associate professor of English, last Thursday afternoon in Bliss Hall.

After hanging around the halls for a few minutes, and making students giggle by peeking in the door window, the man entered uninvited, Hustis said.

He told Hustis he was assigned to teach the class, argued with her for less than five minutes over whether he could teach the class, and then left on his own, she said.

Hustis said the man was white, in his late 40s to mid-50s, and had short grayish hair. She said he was clean, presentable, and relatively articulate. She added that he wasn’t aggressive or mean, and went so far as to call him jovial.

“He just walked in here and said ‘I’m here to teach this class,’” Hustis said. “I think when he realized he wasn’t going to get to teach, he decided to leave.”

After he left, a female student in the class told Hustis that the man had followed her there. Students sitting near the doorway where he was standing also told her he smelled of alcohol, Hustis said.

Gloria Arminio, a senior English major in the class, said the class was more confused by the incident than scared. “Everyone was just waiting to see what would happen,” she said.

Hustis reported the incident to Paulette LaBar, secretary in the English department, who then called Campus Police.

According to Arminio, police officers entered the classroom 10 minutes later and talked to the class to get details.

Arminio said an officer told the class the man was also caught trying to “tutor” young girls outside the Library. There have also been reports of him at the Brower Student Center, Hustis said.

The officer said Campus Police would put the man on a list of people banned from the College, so that legal action could be taken if he was found on campus again.