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Students concerned about possible unauthorized access to Eshleman Hall

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A sleeping bag and other personal effects were found in an empty office on the sixth floor of Eshleman Hall. There have been reports of people squatting in the vacant building.


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Senior Staff Writer

NOVEMBER 08, 2012

Possible evidence of an inhabitant has been found in Eshleman Hall, leading to concern about the building’s security.

At the ASUC Senate meeting held Wednesday night, Executive Vice President Justin Sayarath said only the first, fourth and seventh floors of the building are still being used while the building is being prepared for demolition as part of the Lower Sproul Redevelopment Project.

But a sleeping bag, chocolate-bar wrappers and a backpack have been spotted in a second-floor office.

“All the student groups have moved out, so we didn’t want anybody coming in,” said Sayarath, whose staff used the office to organize materials for a “free day” giveaway for the community. “They found stuff that was kind of pushed together weirdly. They think that people are living there … I don’t think they saw anyone there.”

Sayarath said that though the building’s offices are secured with key-card and number-pad locks that prevent unauthorized access, his staff has found that it is possible to force entry into the second-floor office.

“When my team went up, they found that you can just pull open the doors,” Sayarath said. “If you really force it, you can open the doors, which is a concern now.”

Briana Mullen, chief deputy of facilities and space management, said that the items gathered for the free day make it difficult to tell if someone has been inhabiting the space.

“It’s hard to tell because of what they’ve gathered up, but it did look like someone had been there,” said Mullen. “I couldn’t tell if someone had been sleeping there. It definitely looked like someone had been walking through.”

Still, no one has actually seen a person sleeping in the second-floor office, and Kelsey Finn, executive director of the ASUC Auxiliary, said she believes that there has never been anyone living in the building.

“At this point in time, the building is safe, and there is not anyone in the building who has started living there in any way, shape or form,” said Finn. A police report has not been filed, and there are no plans to file one in the future, according to Finn.

Finn said that there was a battery issue with the door locks that prevented the code from being changed sooner and said that the code would be changed by Friday. The door plate should be fixed soon as well, Finn said.

Other students, however, report seeing someone inhabiting bathrooms on other floors of the building dating back to September.

If someone is living in Eshleman and is a nonaffiliate of the university, he or she could be in violation of multiple UC policies, including camping on UC property and violating a night-time curfew that prohibits nonaffiliates from being on campus from midnight to 6 a.m.

Contact Mitchell Handler [email protected].

NOVEMBER 08, 2012