On Feb. 26, residents of Severance Hall gathered for a mandatory all-hall meeting where residential leaders and Campus Police Officer Frank Urbani spoke about the recent thefts in the building. In the fall semester, residents of Severance Hall experienced a string of thefts from the common rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and even dorm rooms. At the beginning of the spring semester, several students reported that their doors had been left unlocked over winter break, and personal items were missing from their rooms. Some of the affected students took to Facebook pages such as “Wellesley Uncensored Confessions” and class groups to demand their stolen items back. Though several of the thieveries reported on the pages took place in Severance Hall, other dorms around campus such as McAfee Hall and Munger Hall have also experienced similar issues this year.
Tara Luthra ’21 is a resident of Severance Hall who has had items stolen from her dorm room. Luthra said in a written statement to The Wellesley News that she followed protocol and locked her door before leaving campus for winter break. However, when she returned to campus in Jan., her door was wide open and a pair of boots was missing. Luthra has not received an explanation from res staff for why her door was unlocked. However, she believes that “whoever did room check on our floor forgot to lock the doors.”
Luthra immediately reported the theft to Officer Frank Urbani, who is in charge of the ongoing investigation. Luthra said that Urbani “has been the most helpful person in the entire situation. [Campus Police] are really doing a lot to help us.” Luthra expressed disappointment in the residential staff in Severance Hall. At the time of her interview on Feb. 13, no meetings had been held to address the theft in the residential hall. Members of the residential life in Severance Hall declined to comment.
Maggie Rivers ’19 is another Severance resident who returned from winter break to find her door wide open. Rivers said in a written statement to The Wellesley News that she was missing several items, including heels, a jacket and a purse.
Rivers indicated that residents of Severance Hall were made aware of the stealing problem via dorm-wide emails last semester. She stated, “Several victims sent dorm wide emails asking people to return items that had been stolen from their rooms or common areas in the laundry room.”
For this reason, Rivers was surprised to learn that she was one of the first students to actually report her stolen items to Campus Police. “[Campus Police] said that they heard about the thefts, but can’t really do anything if people don’t make reports with them,” she said.
Other dorms around campus have also experienced an uncharacteristically large number of thefts this semester. Kalei Oliver ’20 is a member of Wellesley’s Softball Team and a resident of Munger Hall. She said in a written statement to The Wellesley News that she had a clarisonic spin brush and a blue light pen stolen from her bathroom cubby. Oliver said that she had “no issues” with items being stolen from her bathroom cubby until this year.
After Oliver realized her things were missing, she posted about the theft on Facebook and later planned on reporting it to her Residential Assistant. However, the House President of Munger Hall saw the post and reached out to her. Shortly after, Munger Hall held a mandatory all-hall meeting to address the recent thefts in the building.
Oliver said that the meeting “made her aware that it had been happening to a lot more people than just me which is super unfortunate.” She added, “Munger res life has been really great about the situation and it is really unfortunate that someone or some people on campus feel entitled to things that aren’t their own.”
During the mandatory meeting at Severance Hall last week, student leaders and Officer Urbani advised students on how to best protect their valuables. Residents of Severance Hall were encouraged to keep their doors locked at all times. Additionally, students were told to report to Campus Police if they witness any suspicious behavior or notice that items are missing from their dorm rooms or public spaces.
Urbani encouraged students to come forward “If you see anything, even if it’s nothing, at least you told us.” He added, “If someone takes something out of your locked room then report it, no matter how small it is.”