University Police responded to a phone call Thursday regarding a male non-student who was believed to be watching pornography on the second floor of the Pollak Library’s north side.
The suspicious person call came at about 5:30 p.m. and was investigated by two officers. University Police Captain Scot Willey said they did not find anything on the man’s computer, but the call was enough to have him escorted off campus after the officers identified and interviewed him.
“They just asked him to leave, which he did. He complied. By that point the reporting party had left, so we weren’t able to interview them to see what he or she had seen,” Willey said.
While officers could not find anything substantial enough to administer a seven-day Stay Away Order, the suspicious individual is now logged in the University Police system so appropriate actions can be taken, should any calls be made about him in the future.
The seven-day Stay Away Order University Police officers can administer comes in accordance with California Penal Code 626.6, which states any person unaffiliated with a school or university that isn’t required to be there and is committing or intends to commit an act “likely to interfere with the peaceful conduct of the activities of the campus or facility” can be directed to leave so long as the directive does not impact one’s freedom of speech or assembly.
Campus police receive calls regarding suspicious males touching themselves on average once every month or two, Willey said. This incident was the first call of its kind in 2018.
He said that because the Pollak Library is open to the public, it tends to attract a lot of similar activity with 99.9 percent of cases involving non-students.
“It’s a misdemeanor if that, so it’s something that our police officers have to see themselves in order to make an arrest. Otherwise, they have to have the person that saw it do a private person’s arrest,” Willey said.
Willey said that students, faculty and staff should be mindful of their surroundings when in crowded public places like the library, both for cases of indecency and potential thefts.
If someone is in a situation where people are “watching pornography or touching themselves” in the library, Willey recommends finding a safe spot and calling University Police.
He said it helps if the reporting party gathers as many details as they can once they call and stays to keep an eye on the suspicious person.
“We take that very seriously. Even though it’s not a high-level crime, it’s a very, very creepy kind of thing going on in our area that we don’t like. We want to keep them away,” Willey said.
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