Students at Frontier Hall report feeling uneasy after unknown person was spotted attempting to film student in shower

A series of “inappropriate incidents” occurred in Frontier and Comstock residence halls where an individual attempted to record students in the shower on two separate occasions.

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Andrew Stoup

Frontier Hall on Monday, Nov. 8. This dorm building was the site of a recent dorm safety issue.

by Madison Roth and Ava Thompson

A recent incident of a student being videotaped while taking a shower has prompted concern among students about safety and privacy in University residence halls.

A suspect was seen attempting to record an individual during the evening hours of Oct. 13 and was spotted again on Oct. 21 in Frontier Hall. The suspect was also seen walking near Comstock Hall around 12:08 a.m. on Oct. 22, according to a SAFE-U alert from the University of Minnesota Police Department. Residents have stated that the environment of the resident hall bathrooms has changed since the incidents.

First-year student Quinn Kamaraukas, who is majoring in developmental psychology, lives on the third floor of Frontier Hall. Kamaraukas said she showered on the third floor bathrooms only an hour before the incident occurred.

“[My roommate] Mia and I shower at Pioneer now. We’re too scared to shower at Frontier,” Kamaraukas said.

Kamaraukas added that she now carries pepper spray with her whenever she goes to the bathrooms to shower because she feels that she needs the extra safety precaution.

Another first-year student and Kamaraukas’s roommate, Mia VanDeurzan, works at the front desk of Frontier. VanDeurzan said that she feels as if the students who work behind the desk were not prepared to deal with something like this. She also said that her supervisor said the students working behind the desk should act like everything is normal.

Ava Calvaco, another Frontier resident, also said that the incident changed how she feels when showering. Calvaco said she showers as quickly as possible.

“When I’m showering, I look over my shoulder,” Cavalco said.

First-year student Kate Lindsay, despite having her own bathroom, said she feels scared about going out of her room alone at night.

“I feel safe once I’m in my room, but once I leave, I’m really cautious,” Lindsay said. “Having my own bathroom makes me feel safer.”

Several Frontier Hall students voiced concern about the lack of security present when people are entering the building. Others mentioned feeling unsettled after seeing a side door propped open for over 12 hours.

First-year student Sophie Schroeder stated, “At night, I don’t feel safe.”

Schroeder also said that since she heard about the incident she no longer uses the third-floor bathroom after 10 p.m.

In an emailed statement to the Minnesota Daily, Housing and Residential Life Director Susan Stubblefield clarified that they are working with University Security to check more frequently that exterior doors are locked.

“At the buildings where incidents have been reported, HRL staff have been increasingly vigilant to monitor the safety of our community. Residents and staff have been reminded to report any concerning behavior or presence of unescorted non-residents as soon as possible. HRL continues to work collaboratively with the university on safety efforts that best support our community. We encourage students to follow university guidance regarding student safety,” the email read.

The event is characterized as sexual harassment, according to Katie Eichele, the Director of the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education.

Eichele said she has seen instances of students being recorded in public spaces, such as the light rail and cases where perpetrators threaten to expose students or make certain private information public. However, she said she has not seen instances of students being recorded in the shower before the incident occurred.

“Relatively, the residence halls are secure … you need several security accesses to get into where those restrooms and the showers are,” Eichele said. “Someone is either being allowed in or it’s an actual resident within the building that has the time, and there’s a familiar face to be able to access those areas.”

When asking students what Frontier Hall could do to make them feel safer, the response was clear: increase security measures.

“We should have cameras in the front,” Schroeder said. “They are never going to catch them if something doesn’t change.”

This is an ongoing investigation. If you or anyone you know has information, please contact UMPD at (612) 624-2677.