An unidentified man was found sleeping in the common room of a Vanderbilt Hall FroCo suite at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. The Yale Police were called, and they responded promptly and respectfully, wrote Saybrook Head of College Thomas Near in an email to all Saybrook first years.
The incident was first reported on Overheard at Yale, a popular Facebook group on campus, at around 2 p.m by a Saybrook FroCo who lived in the suite. The post included a short description of the incident, along with a photo of the unidentified man sitting in the common room couch and another photo of New Haven and Yale police officers standing in the Vanderbilt courtyard.
“Overseen: A New Haven man sleeping on the couch in my common room of the Sandy FroCo suite on Old Campus. Police handled the issue in a calm manner. Be weary of who you let into your entryways, everyone!”
He later edited the post to say “Edit: no intention of stigmatizing new haven residents. Please don’t use this post to do so.” The post has since been deleted from Overheard at Yale.
The FroCo did not responded to request for comment.
Near’s alert to the first years was sent at about 8:20 p.m. After describing the incident, Near ended his email with three main points.
First, he told first years not to let people they do not recognize follow them into the entryway. He added that this is especially important as Old Campus is open to the public during the day.
Second, he said that even though it may be convenient, first years should not prop open common room doors.
Finally, he wrote that the event is not reflective of the New Haven community.
“Yale is located in the middle of a bustling city, and isolated incidents like this may happen to anyone. It is our responsibility to be mindful of not only our own safety, but also our neighbors. The only way to prevent subsequent incidents is being mindful that you live in a city and lock your doors,” he wrote.
This last reminder was echoed by Ismael Jamai Ait Hmitti ’22, who lives in Vanderbilt Hall.
“In a city, in a cosmopolitan environment, these things are going to happen,“ he said.
He said even though it is in the middle of a cosmopolitan area, Yalies “choose not to see it that way,” said Jamai Ait Hmitti. He said this lack of awareness reflects a broader insular attitude of Yale — Yalies, like him, sometimes forget that they live in a city, “to a point where you don’t feel like you need to watch yourself.”
Aaron Jenkins ’22 read his head of college’s email walking back to his Vanderbilt suite, and had not heard much about the incident prior to the email. He didn’t feel too impacted, but said he would probably feel differently if the incident had occurred in his suite.
He added, though, that the man didn’t sound like he was trying to cause any harm.
Yale spokesperson Karen Peart said that the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications has nothing further to add to the message.
Ferentz Lafargue, dean of Saybrook College, told the News that he is not at liberty to comment on the situation other than to say that both he and Near are doing their best to work with campus officials to ensure the safety of Saybrugians.
Sammy Westfall | firstname.lastname@example.org .
Correction (5/23): This article previously misrepresented who made the original Facebook post about the incident, and has since been changed.