The following items appeared in the “Crime & Incident Report” column of my university’s newspaper, mostly during my time as a student there–the last one is from my brief stint working there. It was an interesting campus environment . . . and whoever compiled these reports had a knack for writing them with just the right combination of informativeness and mystery.
September 14, 1991: Simple Assault, 12:52 a.m. A student, who was delivering toilet paper and Comet to a resident assistant, was informed there was a student in the building who might be a victim of alcohol poisoning. In an attempt to assess the victim’s condition, he was assaulted. He said his assaulter did not want to be assessed and repeatedly threw him on the bed. The drunken person was later determined to be okay.
September 19, 1991: Disorderly Conduct, 12 a.m. A student called Campus Security and said someone was shooting laser lights through her window. It was found that the residents of a nearby dorm were testing a new laser sight. They said they were unaware the light was shining in a window. Two paint guns in their room were confiscated by Campus Security.
October 4, 1991: Vandalism, 12:58 a.m. An officer observed a man carrying a small tree with the root ball attached. When stopped, the man threw the tree on the ground and claimed he did not know why he was carrying it. He was issued an internal citation. The officer replanted the tree.
October 5, 1991: Excessive Noise, 3:31 a.m. Campus Security received a report of excessive noise coming from a fraternity house. When officers arrived, they observed people throwing chairs, potted plants, electrical equipment, and other items from the second floor balcony. The house was issued an internal citation.
October 16, 1991: Arson, 11:39 p.m. A student reported someone setting fire to a banner in front of Doherty Hall. The responding officers found a banner advertising the movie Backdraft with several holes burnt in it.
October 17, 1991: Arson, 1:40 a.m. A security guard observed someone throwing pieces of burning paper from a window in Morewood Gardens. The guard located the room from which the paper was coming. Nobody answered the door when the guard knocked.
October 19, 1991: Suspicious Person, 3:38 a.m. Campus Security received a report from a student of an unknown man in her room. The responding officers found a very intoxicated man in the room, talking on the phone. When asked why he was there, he claimed it was his room. He was taken to the Public Safety Building to spend the night.
October 21, 1991: Trespassing, 5:59 p.m. A student was seen walking on the ledge outside the fifth-floor lounge of Resnick Hall. When questioned, he said he was an architecture student and was on the ledge so he could get a better look at the building’s design. He was issued an internal citation.
January 21, 1992: Receiving Stolen Property, 1:08 a.m. An officer on patrol noticed a student carrying a stop sign. When questioned, the student said the stop sign had been under his bed since he moved in, and he was planning to use it to sled down the hill by the tennis courts. He was issued an internal citation.
January 31, 1992: Indecent Exposure, 2:58 a.m. Four males were reported running across Parking Area Four with no clothes on. One officer saw a naked male run across Forbes Avenue. Another male, who was wearing nothing but orange shorts, was stopped by police. There was a large, cheering crowd nearby, and one person was operating a camcorder. A citation for streaking will be issued by the Department of Student Affairs.
September 1, 1992: Criminal Mischief, 9:40 p.m. A student was struck on the neck by an egg while he was bicycling down Schenley Drive. Security officers discovered several broken eggs scattered on the street. No assailants were found.
September 1, 1992: Harassment, 10 p.m. Two students and a friend were leaving the Morewood Gardens parking lot when they were harassed by four men, one of whom was wearing a clown costume. As they left the lot, one of the men threw a piece of fruit at their vehicle, hitting the windshield. No damage was done.
September 2, 1992: Assault, 9:10 p.m. A student was assaulted in Skibo Game Room during a game of “Street Fighter”. He was attacked by his opponent and another person after an argument about the game and the use of “cheap moves.”
September 11, 1992: Assault, 9:45 p.m. A student reported that while she was walking past Morewood E-Tower, she was struck on the back of the neck with a peach. The fruit had been thrown from an unknown window in E-Tower. The victim stated that she did not require medical attention.
September 19, 1992: Harassment, 2:14 a.m. A student reported that for the past five days he had been getting harassing phone calls. All the caller did was moan. If the call was picked up by the answering machine, the caller said, “Turkey, turkey, turkey.”
September 28, 1992: Medical Escort, 9:28 p.m. A student incurred a laceration above his left eye while playing football in the hallway of Morewood E-6. While attempting to catch the ball, he ran into one of the wall-mounted hallway lights. The student was transported to Presbyterian Hospital.
October 14, 1992: Medical Escort, 6:47 p.m. A student called Campus Security because he was feeling extremely ill due to having ingested seven caffeine tablets over the previous 24 hours. His heart was beating rapidly, and he was having trouble breathing. He was taken immediately to Presbyterian Hospital.
January 13, 1993: Unauthorized Storage of Property, 8:53 a.m. Campus Security was notified that a wooden box chained to a radiator in Porter Hall possibly contained a tuba and did not belong there. A student said he had not called Campus Security earlier because he thought it was a toolbox being used by contractors in the area. He was then told by some students that the box contained a tuba used by a student in the Porter Hall practice rooms. The locked box and chain were transported to the Campus Security office, and a note was left for the owner.
February 9, 1993: Indecent Exposure, 2:10 p.m. A student walked into Campus Security and said that an individual was being filmed totally nude outside Doherty Hall. Officers responded and found a student sitting on a bench totally nude. Another student was filming the reactions of people passing by. The nude student was issued an internal citation.
[Editor’s Note: I wince every time I read that last sentence!]
February 24, 1993: Criminal Mischief, 4:58 a.m. While on patrol, a Campus Security officer noticed paper towels strewn from the tree underneath a high window in Hamerschlag House. Closer examination revealed pickles smashed on the handle of the window immediately over the garbage dumpster.
February 26, 1993: Criminal Mischief, 10:18 p.m. While walking west along Forbes Avenue, a student was struck on the right side of her face with a box of breakfast cereal thrown from a passing car. The vehicle was last seen heading east on Forbes Avenue. The student
was unable to see the license plate.
March 17, 1993: Theft, 11:21 a.m. A couch located in the women’s restroom in the basement of Doherty Hall was reported stolen. The lock and chain which had been used to secure the couch to the radiator were discovered on the floor of the restroom. The couch is gold vinyl with a piece of duct tape covering a rip.
[Editor’s Note: I knew that couch well. I had slept on it several times the previous year. It was in an unusually large restroom, one level below the first-year architecture studios, which also featured a mirror of the size normally seen in ballet studios.]
January 29, 1994: Domestic Dispute, 12:35 p.m. Campus Security received a report of a loud domestic disturbance in 106 Welch Hall. The occupants informed responding officers that they were playing a game involving hitting each other, which had begun the previous day. The altercation had occurred when one of the individuals resumed the game at a time when the other was uninterested in playing.
January 30, 1994: Possible Theft, 10:39 p.m. Campus Security received a call concerning two males riding a swivel chair down the driveway behind Donner Hall. Officers responded to the report but were unable to to find anyone matching the description.
February 9, 1994: Criminal Mischief, 2:08 a.m. While on routine patrol, a security officer saw someone carrying a USA Today machine into the center of the field in Gesling Stadium. The man tried to evade the officer and then began to ramble on about trying to help the world’s cause. He was issued an internal citation.
March 7, 1996: Smoking Violation, 2:10 a.m. An officer was on patrol in one of the academic buildings when he came upon a student smoking a cigarette. The student tried to put out the cigarette before the officer saw him. The officer asked the student for ID, but the student responded, “An ID is only a state of mind.” The student then gave the officer a hard time about smoking in the building, saying that he pays $19,000 to be able to smoke in the building. He was issued internal citations for refusing to produce ID when requested by an officer and for violation of CMU smoking policy.
April 1, 1998: Incident, 12:26 p.m. An officer responded to the front of Doherty Hall and found several hundred dead fish lying outside and inside the main entrance. Several students were questioned, but none would say when or how the fish got there. CPS was notified for cleanup.
[Editor’s Note: I like the way this is described only as an Incident, as if they didn’t have a category for it. I can’t remember what CPS stood for; all that’s coming to mind is Child Protective Services…]