Butterfield residence hall was one of the locations on campus where voyeurism was reported in the showers. Photo from URI.
On Tuesday the University of Rhode Island warned students on-campus of instances of video voyeurism in showers in Butterfield and Weldin Hall which took place late Sunday and Monday evening.
On-campus residents were sent an email from Housing and Residential Life and the URI Police Department telling students to exercise awareness as they shower. URI police are currently investigating the four incidents reported.
“The University is supporting the students who reported these incidents, and the safety of our community is our top priority,” said the email sent to students. “Housing and Residential Life staff will be conducting additional evening rounds in buildings with community restrooms and URI police will increase patrols of the residence halls.”
According to URI police, witnesses have described the suspect as male, between 5’8” and 5’10,” stocky, dark curly hair, short on the sides. HRL and URI police encourage students to report and suspicious activity or information to either of their departments.
These incidents have made national news; NBC News and The Chicago Tribune have picked up the story. The Providence Journal, WPRI and ABC6 have also covered the incidents as well.
Camille Worob, a freshman living in Butterfield Hall, said she was extremely disturbed by someone taking pictures or videos of others while showering.
“I’m really scared,” said Worob. “I was taking a shower yesterday and I was looking around, you shouldn’t have to do that in a community like this. Especially for freshmen, we have three years ahead of us and we want to feel safe on campus.”
Worob said she feels like although they have increased the police presence around campus, she said there should be an officer in each building to keep students calm for the time being.
Worob also noted that this brings up the issue of security in the dorms, which she said was lacking.
“When I visited Roger Williams, they asked for my actual ID when I went into the dorms,” said Worob.
Deedee Thomas, another freshman living in Butterfield Hall, said she was really confused when she got the email from HRL.
“It’s messed up, as females we shouldn’t have to worry about that, especially us being in college, nor should any guy,” said Thomas. “For people coming from different states, they want to feel safe, they’re moving away from home and it’s scary enough.”
Molly Sarris, another resident in Butterfield Hall, said she was really uncomfortable as she learned about the incidents.
“We’re paying more attention to who’s in the bathrooms, especially since we have a [co-ed] bathroom on this floor,” said Sarris. “It’s really sketchy because there are always guys in there.”
Patrick McManus, a freshman who lives on the same floor as Sarris, said there is a lot more tension since the men and women share the same bathroom on the floor.
“People are just more cautious about when they shower, it’s pretty messed up,” said McManus.
Any student with additional information that will help police in identifying the suspect or suspects are asked to contact URI police at (401) 874-4910. For emergencies, call 874-2121.