By Shivani Gosai | Asst. Opinions Editor
According to police, a Duquesne freshman was taken into custody on Jan. 12 after trespassing while naked in an all-girls wing of Towers.
Police report that Collin McCauley, 18, was found by the dormitory staff in the north stairwell. McCauley was allegedly able to gain access to the girls’ wing after setting off the fire alarm at 4 a.m. Police say he then proceeded to urinate on the floor. In a criminal complaint, the university police stated that McCauley then grabbed a girl by the arm and went into the dorm room of two other girls and grabbed one of them as well.
“He came on my wing, walked towards me with no clothes on and started pushing me towards my room, saying everything would be okay, then proceeded to follow us down the hallway to go in the soccer girls’ room,” said Alecia Folino, one of the freshman girls in the dorm that night.
After being taken into police custody, McCauley was taken to UPMC Mercy hospital for medical evaluation. According to Duquesne police, he appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. McCauley is being charged with indecent exposure, criminal trespass, false alarm to agency of public safety and disorderly conduct.
McCauley’s actions are completely unacceptable. The safety of multiple girls was comprised in what is considered a safe living environment due to the use of drugs. No matter how under the influence you are, you should not put others in danger.
Several freshman girls on the floor said they were scared and confused by his behavior.
“I, personally, feel sympathy for him. Yes, he made poor decisions by consuming illegal substances but, he had his whole life ahead of him, and it is very sad how this will impact him. He did not hurt anyone, just alarmed us,” said Jamie Smith, a freshman who encountered McCauley in Towers.
McCauley’s behavior is shameful and inexcusable. He should be held accountable for his actions, especially after scaring young women and violating their privacy. The offensive behavior seemed to have come from drug and/or alcohol usage. While that is no excuse, it is clear from the reports that McCauley had no malicious intent.
Jamie Smith told WTAE in an interview that she feared one of the girls or herself would be subjected to sexual assault. Rape culture is widely seen on college campuses. Rape culture is recognized when it is normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. Had one of the girls in Towers that night been subjected to such abuse, the act would have been trivialized because of McCauley’s lack of sobriety. Thankfully, none of the women in Towers were harmed.
According to the Addiction Center, college students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. The rates of drug abuse among college students can be attributed to a number of factors, including stress, curiosity and peer pressure. It is not uncommon that college students turn to drugs as a way to cope with coursework or other stressful situations.
Preventing drug abuse with college students is critical because college students are already at a high risk for drug and alcohol addictions. Proper education and rules can inform students of the long-term negative effects of substance abuse.
Duquesne University has specific student conduct rules set in place regarding drug use for the safety of all students. Drug and alcohol use is a violation of Duquesne standards and will result in disciplinary action. DU Cares is a program offered to students that teaches basic information about alcohol and other drugs, as well as how to maintain a low-risk lifestyle. The office of DU Cares can assist students with addiction recovery and refer appropriate services. McCauley should be held accountable for his actions so that he, as well as other students, can observe what the consequences of drug abuse are.
No information has been received from the office of student conduct on McCauley’s current situation.