Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Last Thursday and Friday night a total of five individuals not associated with Swarthmore College were seen in and around Woolman smoking on the fire escape and drinking alcohol in the Woolman lounge.
Liana Katz ’10 was the first person to sight the intruders when she saw two people smoking last Thursday on the Woolman fire escape. “I was very upset seeing people I don’t know smoking on my fire escape,” she said. At the time she didn’t realize that they weren’t associated with the College, suspecting instead that they were Woolman residents that she hadn’t met.
The next evening when the Woolman RA Marina Isakowitz ’09 returned to the dorm in the evening she saw five people, including the two from the previous evening, drinking alcohol in the Woolman lounge. When questioned as to whether they were students they said they weren’t and that they weren’t aware that the campus was currently dry. “I asked them if they were students. They said they weren’t, and I asked them to leave on account of this being a private dorm, not a public space” said Isakowitz. They left without incident leaving behind their alcohol. Isakowitz said that they had also written grafiti on the dorm quote board and had written on some residents’ dry erase boards.
Later that evening Eric Holzhauer ’10 saw one of the individuals trying to get into Woolman. Holzhauer didn’t recognize the person but didn’t suspect that he was an outside intruder. “I asked him if he lived here and he said ‘no, I just came back to get my booze,'” Holzhauer said. Holzhauer was confused and thought that he was a student living in another dorm, so he let him in. The individual looked in the common room and, finding no alcohol, left. Holzhauer then talked to Isakowitz and found out that the individual was not a student.
Since the intrusions Isakowitz has held a meeting with the dorm to stress the importance of not propping doors and of keeping one’s room locked. The security situation is especially relavent for small dorms like Woolman, Isakowitz explained, because “In many ways, [Woolman] is still set up like a house. Therefore, I view all of Woolman as a private, personal space specifically for the use of Woolman residents and their guests. To have intruders in the dorm was an invasion of what I view as personal space for the communal use of Woolman residents.”
The nature of this intrusion was unusual in that most intrusions into dorms involve solicitation, not drinking, said Director of Public Safety Owen Redgrave. Associate Dean for Student Life Myrt Westphal agreed, saying that the Amphitheater or the Crum were more common locations for people not associated with the College to be found drinking.
Redgrave said that the incident was not reported to Public Safety and he “suspects” that intrusions into dorms “are under-reported.” He identified door-propping as a the primary way that intruders could enter dorms and urged residents not to prop them.