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NYU students express shock, dismay over intruder getting into residence hall

NYU students speak out following intruder incident in dorm
NYU students speak out following intruder incident in dorm 02:11

NEW YORK -- An NYU student is speaking out after an unsettling encounter with an intruder in her Lower Manhattan dorm.

It's not the first time this month an incident like this was reported in campus buildings.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis spoke with the university and students on Sunday.

"It was, honestly, horrific," student Khafira Freeman said.

Freeman, a junior, was describing her experience last Sunday evening, when a man got into her residence hall on Lafayette Street. She said he bypassed security, jumped the lobby turnstile, entered the elevator, and followed her onto her floor.

"I hid in the laundry room. He opens the door and swings it open and it's him, and he says, 'Are you hiding from me?' And I literally was paralyzed and shocked and didn't know what to say," Freeman said.

She managed to escape to her dorm and called campus security. Frustrated by the lack of communication immediately following the incident, Freeman said she filed a complaint.

"No one was updating me. No, like, campus security. No police officer came to my room to say, 'Hey, you're okay?'" Freeman said. "I just had trouble sleeping because I kept on seeing that guy's face in my face, you know?"

The next day, the residence hall director sent an email to inform students, noting the suspect was escorted from the building by the NYPD, which would not confirm if that person was arrested.

Some students DeAngelis spoke to said they feel they should have been alerted sooner and want security improvements.

"Coming into the residence halls, you think that you have some form of safety guarding you. We have security guards up front. It doesn't mean anything. Repeated thins happening in the dorms and, quite honestly, it makes me feel unsafe," a junior named Charlie said.

The NYU daily crime log shows several other reported "criminal trespass" incidents this month, including one at Third North Hall. A resident there said she's noticed a difference since.

"They got so much security and there has been police up and down our halls checking in," freshman Kate Heglie said.

"For me, it was the security at the door. How does someone get in? That kind of stresses me out," freshman Marysa Naufal said.

NYU spokesman John Beckman released a lengthy statement on the incident.

"We have 24/7 coverage by NYU campus safety officers at the entrance to every student residence hall. These are our students' homes, and our aim is for students to feel safe and secure in them. So, the recent incidents of unauthorized intruders gaining access are troubling to the university, and we take them very seriously," Beckman said. "Despite the very considerable measures we already take, we need to learn from these incidents and correct any gaps in coverage or mistakes. For that reason, the president of the university has asked for a full review of residence hall security to determine whether and what systemic issues there may be and what steps need to be taken to prevent any repeats.

"A student in the residence hall noticed the trespasser, and then notified residence hall staff, who in turn notified our university department of campus safety, who called the NYPD. Additional campus safety officers were on scene in minutes and immediately commenced a search for the intruder, and the NYPD arrived a few minutes later.

"The trespasser was located shortly thereafter, alone in one of the building stairwells. He was escorted from the building a few minutes later by the NYPD. He gave no reason for his actions. You would have to speak to the NYPD about whether they went forward with an arrest. His picture has been distributed to all campus safety posts at residence halls to keep an eye out for him in the future.

"We take this unauthorized intrusion -- as we do all unauthorized intrusions into residence halls -- very seriously, and, as I noted previously, NYU will be conducting a review of residence hall safety procedures to see if there are lessons that can be learned to prevent repeats."

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