Peeping Tom concerns from Students addressed at Morgan’s Town Hall

Firdausa Stover

The Empower Administration of the student government association held an emergency town hall at Morgan State University on Thursday at 3 p.m., to discuss safety on campus considering recent events.

Due to the overwhelming concerns from the community SGA president and vice president, Marcus Bennett and Joy Barnes felt it was necessary to hold the townhall.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Kevin Banks and Chief of Police, Lance Hatcher, at Morgan facilitated the conversation.

Hatcher opened the townhall by informing the crowd of what happened and where they are with the two incidents.

“Two days ago, we had gotten a call about a male individual in a female restroom in Holmes Hall. The day after we had an incident that again another male individual in a female restroom. Once we got those calls of course we wanted to get something out to the community,” said Hatcher.

An update was provided on the first peeping tom incident.

“As far as the first incident in Holmes Hall. As of today, about 2 o’clock or 1 o’clock we had identified the person responsible for the Holmes Hall incident and they have obtained a warrant for that individual. That case will come to a conclusion as soon as we serve that warrant on that individual. We expect to have that done by the close of tonight, tomorrow at the latest,” said Hatcher.

The chief also clarified the speculation that both incidents were by the same suspect and provided an update on the second situation.

“Unfortunately, it was two separate individuals that were responsible for the two cases. One in Holmes and one in the new Jenkins. They are continued to investigate the incident at Jenkins. We want to close that sooner than later we’re making some great progress on that. We continue to vigorously investigate that situation,” said Hatcher.

Banks emphasized that safety and security is a community effort and certain strategies students should take.

“It takes everyone to be part of the solution and I can’t emphasize that enough. The calls we’ve got from people helped us to be able to make the connections to solve the first case. It takes a community effort, but there’s things we can do along the way. We’re an open campus so we have to be vigilant all the time on how we approach safety and security on the campus,” Banks.

Throughout the townhall students raised their concerns about safety on campus and why they came.

“I came to the townhall today because unfortunately I was a victim of the peeping tom incident. I felt it was an invasion of my privacy and I wanted to come to voice my concerns about those issues,” said Kayla James, a junior psychology major.

“I definitely feel more confident and I will take the experience that I went through personally and use it to advocate and push on these issues. I know for one President Wilson was gung-ho about having a meeting with us right away about issues like this. I feel like if students come with a preventative plan we can push and get it done as long as we stay on them,” said James.

Graduating senior, Saleemah Franklin explained why she doesn’t feel safe on campus.

“I do not feel safe and when I first came to Morgan State in 2015, and I’ve said this to several people…Feeling safe on campus? No because the security is spotty sometimes they’re there at the bridge, sometimes they’re not. They don’t seem as if they wish to be here,” said Franklin.

Graduating senior, Jamilah Dennis discussed her experience with Morgan’s Police Department.

I came specifically because I’ve had some unfortunate interactions with MSUPD. I have had meetings with Chief Hatcher who is here today and spoke. I had another meeting with President Wilson as well as a result of these incidents. I came today to hear the other experiences of other students and to see if anything was similar to my experience. Unfortunately, it was a reoccurring theme here tonight,” said Dennis.

Both Hatcher and Banks encouraged students to sign up for the Morgan Alerts, download the Morgan App and utilize the escort service. While they’re continuously working on new ways to improve the security of students on and off campus.

Morgan issued a statement Friday morning that the suspect from the Holmes Hall incident was arrested Thursday night.  Although the second incident that occurred in the Behavioral Social Science Complex (New Jenkins) is still an ongoing investigation.

If anyone witnessed or has information about the crime, you can call Morgan State University Police Department at 443-885-3103.