Three men posing as Chapman students tried to solicit money from students living on campus April 17, Director of Residence Life and First Year Experience Dave Sundby wrote in an email to residents April 18. The three men were not affiliated with the university, the email said.
Sundby told The Panther that both Public Safety and Residence Life were notified of the solicitors at the time of the incident and followed up with residents who were approached. Public Safety identified the three men and told them to leave campus, Sundby said.
“We can’t legally detain people who haven’t committed a crime,” Sundby said. “What those solicitors were doing wasn’t technically a crime.”
Sundby said that the Orange Police Department was notified of the solicitors, but were delayed due to “other calls.”
Sundby said that three male solicitors were confirmed to have approached residents in Henley Hall, Pralle-Sodaro Hall, the Sandhu Residence Center, North Morlan Hall and the Harris Apartments.
In the email, Sundby wrote that the solicitors tried to sell books, magazines and other media to students.
Sundby also wrote in the email that the three men seemed to target rooms with women and make romantic advances toward female students. Nathalie Larrea, a sophomore communication studies major who lives in the Harris Apartments, was in one of the rooms that the men approached.
“He kept on saying, ‘Oh you’re so pretty,’ and ‘This must be the pretty girls’ hall,’” Larrea said. “I was really uncomfortable.”
Larrea said that she is scared because she believes that the man who came to her door now knows her name.
“It’s Chapman. I thought this was supposed to be safe,” she said.
Larrea said she has friends in North Morlan Hall who were also approached by two male solicitors.
Kendra Klint, a sophomore sociology major who lives in the Harris Apartments, said that she was also approached by one of the men.
“It felt sketchy,” Klint said. “I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, because it sounded like it was for a good cause. He was not picking up that I did not want him there. I tried to tell him to go away nicely, multiple times, and he didn’t leave.”
Sundby wrote that, for the safety of students and residential communities, students should not hold doors open for any unknown person when entering a residence building. He also wrote that if unknown people approach a student’s dorm room, students should ask them to identify themselves and why they are there.
The email advised students to report any suspicious behavior to Public Safety.
Chief of Public Safety Randy Burba was out of town on university business at the time of the incident and did not respond to requests for comment.
Public Safety Captain John Kabala did not respond to requests for comment.