Recently, a man unaffiliated with Hamline got into Manor Hall and used the women’s shower while a student was in another stall. It is suspected that a student let the man in. Students living in residence halls oftentimes let others in who do not have a key, an action dubbed “piggybacking” by Public Safety Director Melinda Heikkinen.
Heikkinen had a few helpful tips on how to prevent these types of instances and how to remain safe if a situation does occur. There was a student in the restroom when the man was using the facilities. Heikkinen remarked that it was smart the student locked the stall door when they became aware of the situation. However, if a situation is uncomfortable then leaving the scene, if possible, is Heikkinen’s best recommendation. Students should always be aware of their surroundings and never feel silly for trusting their instincts. Whenever something suspicious happens, students should reach out immediately to the public safety office and their RAs. She recommended that students put public safety in their phone for quick contact in case of emergency. When similar instances have happened and the security tapes were checked it is usually found that a student let in the unsafe individual. Heikkinen urges that students should never let a stranger into residence halls.
“No piggybacking, period,” Heikkinen said.
Heikkinen explained the various protections that Public Safety has put into place to prevent piggybacking situations. Residence hall doors are secured at all times. Only authorized individuals, regardless of enrollment or employment status, are given access to residence halls. If a lock breaks it locks secure, it would not open. If for some reason the door is not locked a security officer is posted at the door. Public safety is open 24 hours and should be used whenever an uncomfortable situation arises.
Sophomore Isaac Hanson is also a current Manor resident. He says that even though the incident was alarming, he still feels safe in Manor.
“Public safety is no joke,” he said.
Hanson said that even though nobody was hurt, the incident still led him to improve his public safety habits. He only lets people in if he knows them and thinks other students should do the same. Hanson also believes that this incident is an opportunity to learn and it should be examined.