In a Friday email to Morse and Stiles students, Morse College Master Amy Hungerford and Ezra Stiles College Master Stephen Pitti ’91 warned students to keep their doors locked and watch out for unfamiliar faces after an Ezra Stiles student’s wallet, phone and keys were reported stolen in a computer lab shared by the two residential colleges.
At the time of the theft, “a strange man was observed in the [computer lab] room, and some strangers were seen around Morse earlier today, in private areas of the college to which they should not have had access,” wrote Hungerford in her email. One of the individuals was a middle-aged man, Hungerford added, though she said she had no other information on the individuals.
The Yale Police Department has responded to the reports and the theft is currently under investigation, according to Hungerford. She urged students to be extremely careful in keeping entryway and hallway doors locked in order to avoid piggybacking undesired strangers into the gates.
The two colleges are currently frequented by workers addressing heating and plumbing problems, Hungerford said, adding that legitimate workers always wear “some kind of identifying gear” and that students are always notified when workers are scheduled to enter private areas to do necessary work.
According to the most recent annual safety report released last fall, 18 burglaries were reported in Yale’s 12 residential colleges in 2011. In particular, in the fall of 2011, Davenport College was hit by a string of thefts, with five computers and other valuable digital devices stolen between September and October.
The Yale College Council released its “campus safety report” today, presenting an array of Yale safety issues ranging from inadequate lighting to safety services.
The report aims to synthesize student feedback generated from a form on the YCC’s website, a crowdsourcing Google Document that was sent to all undergraduates on Nov. 13 and a “lighting patrol” conducted by YCC representatives to investigate areas of campus reputed to suffer from poor lighting.
YCC President John Gonzalez ’14 told the News Tuesday that the report aims to strengthen ongoing conversation with Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins.
“We have been in constant contact with Chief Higgins, and often brought many student concerns to him,” Gonzalez said. “We thought what would be the most effective thing for our relationship moving forward would be to compile a campus safety report that he and the YPD could look through and begin addressing.”
Despite nine reported crimes on or near Yale’s campus so far this academic year, the YCC report concludes that “the biggest concern that students had regarding student safety dealt with inadequate lighting around campus.”
In response to a purported outcry for better lighting on campus, the report lists in detail student-reported lighting problems in addition to those “recorded by further investigation.” According to the list, high-risk areas include Temple Street in front of Timothy Dwight College, York Street in front of Davenport and Pierson colleges and Sachem Street by Ingalls Rink. Other issues reported include a poorly-lit Blue Phone behind Pierson College and two lights flickering outside of the Slifka Center.
On the question of safety services, the report largely relates student satisfaction with the nature of current resources, including the desire to increase the quantity and availability of services such as safety rides and shuttles. According to the report, students looking to avoid wait time want more vehicles making the rounds. It can take “30 minutes plus,” the report quotes one student as having said, to use such services. One other suggestion includes allowing groups to preschedule safety rides after weekly meetings or other previously planned events.
In a section of the report devoted to alcohol safety, the YCC excerpted a handful of comments that raise concerns about the University’s focus on discipline, which the report said dissuades students from getting the medical attention they need. Specific recommendations from students include no longer asking students at the hospital where they got their alcohol and creating “disciplinary amnesty for anybody who willingly goes to Yale Health.” Students also commented on the worrisome effects of Yale’s pervasive alcohol culture, with one student reporting that he or she is “uncomfortable to venture out on a Friday [and] Saturday night.”