The Kalamazoo Public Safety Department paid a visit to Kalamazoo College on September 29, 2016. Shortly after their arrival, police officers escorted Kalamazoo resident Glen McGnegly out the Upjohn Library Commons.
Circulation desk worker, Tenley Mustonen ‘17 saw the event as she arrived to start her shift. “He was asleep at the desk and some of the students were just saying that they were noticing him searching things that they were uncomfortable with.”
Mustonen explained that this isn’t an isolated event.
“I was here last year when a similar thing happened,” commented Mustonen. “One guy came in with a weapon and I didn’t really notice because I was checking people’s books out and I don’t usually watch all of the people coming in. He barricaded himself in the bathroom.”
Mustonen concluded that the Kalamazoo Public Safety Department facilitated his removal from campus as well as preventing him from harming himself and others.
Recounting the past event, Mustonen shared that the library staff “called the police and the cops came in and banned him from campus. I don’t think he went to jail,” noted Mustonen, “but further things would happen if he came back [to campus]. He had a golf club and carried stuff on it.”
Erin Byrd ‘17 and Mason Higby ‘17 encountered the event of September 29 on their way to class. Both report seeing two or three police officers in the library, unable to recall the exact number. At the time, neither Byrd nor Higby knew what triggered the police presence, but both felt it to be significant information. Both students expected to receive a K-alert to inform them of the situation and continued on their way.
“I didn’t receive a K-alert by phone or e-mail to inform me of why the police were in the library,” Higby said. “I definitely like the fact that our library has computers for community use, but when the police are involved, I’d like to know how to respond in certain situations.”
Concurrently, Byrd did not know how to react. “Since nothing bad happened, I feel less upset about it because as far as I know, everyone is okay including the man who was escorted away from campus. There were reports of the man searching weapons online.”
Director of Security Tim Young shared the decision-making process behind sending out K-alerts. “The issue of K-alert is that [we send it out] if we feel that there are some safety measures that [students] could put into place,” Young said. “In that situation right there, he was just being stupid–there’s really no other way of saying it. Short of that, there’s really not much to that guy.”
“As far as I truly know, a man was just escorted out of the library by more than one police officer,” Byrd said, calling upon her experience. “It would just be nice to know if I need to be on the lookout. I expected a K-alert since there were a lot of students in the library at that time, “ Byrd ‘17 commented. “I trust that Tim Young and his staff know what they are doing when it comes to informing the campus through K-alerts, it was just a very out-in-the-open situation.”
“If there’s an assault, you’ll hear about it,” Young reassured The Index. “You have to remember, you can’t over exaggerate the information. And there’s a big difference between a timely warning–if we had a warning, we would put out an alert.”