DIANA ALVARENGA / THE EAGLE
Four AU transfer students said Public Safety officers hid their laptops during an Oct. 4 fire drill in Leonard Hall.
The students said they left their laptops in their floor lounge during the fire drill and returned to find them gone. They said they approached four or five Public Safety officers to address their missing computers, according to School of Communication sophomore Madison Sirulnik, one of the four students.
Phillip Morse, senior director of Public Safety, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Meghan Cotter, whose laptop also was missing, claimed the officers proceeded to laugh and admit they hid the devices.
“I asked, ‘Is this some kind of joke to teach us a lesson?’” Cotter said. “And then nobody answered.”
The officers initially did not respond, Cotter said. However, when she repeated the question, they answered “yeah,” she said.
“All of us were like ‘That’s not funny, that’s like [a] thousand dollars worth of merchandise you just took from us,’” she said.
School of International Service sophomore Molly Fontaine, another affected student, said the officers did not immediately return the laptops.
“They were very hesitant to give them back before we had answered all of their [the officers’] questions about why we would leave them there,” she said.
A Leonard Hall resident assistant gave back the laptops that were hidden under the front desk, according to Fontaine.
The students said an officer first asked them for the make and model of the devices, according to Fontaine. The officers then wrote down the information and proceeded to ask why the students left their laptops, Fontaine said.
Sarah Glassman, the resident director for Leonard Hall, was at the desk during the time of the incident. She directed all questions to Public Safety.
Chris Moody, director of housing and dining, explained that his department did not make any decisions in concern to the incident.
“What I was told was that the hall staff were not involved in the decision to remove laptops from public areas nor did they remove the laptops from public areas,” he said in an email.
Cotter and the other students said they are still upset by the incident and emailed a complaint to Public Safety. They have not received a response as of Oct. 23.
“We just wanted to get our work done and get our computers back,” Cotter said.