Cecilia G. Hernandez

Paramedics Respond to Resident in Distress at The Nest

NEIU Campus Police Chief Escalante said that the person is receiving care.

September 28, 2021

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this article, photos included have been removed out of concern for privacy. 

An undressed resident with a hammer caused disruptions at Northeastern Illinois University’s (NEIU) dorms, The Nest, prompting authorities to evacuate the building when the fire alarm on the sixth floor was pulled by someone at 8:49 p.m. on Monday Sept. 27.

NEIU police officers responded and encountered the resident of The Nest experiencing emotional distress. As a result of the fire alarm, the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) also responded to the event and took the distressed resident to a nearby hospital.

NEIU’s Campus Police Chief John Escalante said, “The individual in emotional distress was transported by Chicago Fire Department ambulance to an area hospital.” He added, “Further investigation at the scene revealed this subject was in possession of a hammer but did not threaten anyone with it.”

One NEST resident said that they saw the person in distress was walking through hallways repeating the phrase “listen to your coping mechanisms.”

Another anonymous NEST resident told NEIU Independent that they suddenly heard a banging in the hallway. Upon investigating, they saw the person in distress banging objects against the wall by the vending machines. The resident called The Nest front desk to inform them about the situation, but the residents were just ordered by the employees to leave the building due to the fire alarm being set off.

Some residents were able to leave the building timely, but others stayed inside for a long time due to safety concerns. At the end, all residents were able to leave the building and the CFD eventually cleared residents to return.

Witnesses waiting to enter the building said they saw the person in distress taken by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) into an ambulance.

A NEST resident who was attending a class during the incident approached the NEST front desk to inquire about what had happened after seeing pictures and videos that had been shared by the witnesses on social media. The receptionist replied with, “the fire alarm went off,” adding no further information.

The Independent approached The Nest manager’s office for a report on the incident was told “no comment” and that it is company policy to not speak with the media. The Nest is managed through a private corporation, American Campus Communities.

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  • L

    LeoOct 11, 2021 at 1:20 am

    It’s been two weeks and this article is still up? I thought this was going to be taken down because it’s outright predatory journalism? Shame on you guys. I hope this gets deleted soon. The editing doesn’t help, even if it’s more cleaned up and the images are removed it’s still an incredibly exploitative article made to gain attention over someone who’s mentally unwell. This is why people with mental disorders are so stigmatized. People like you all will use them for attention and make a mockery of their incidents. This is why people hide their disorders and push themselves so hard to be considered “normal”, because people like you use them.

    Get rid of this mock piece ASAP, you all should be ashamed of yourselves for taking advantage of someone this way. Maybe you should post an article and apologize to this person for using them and to your reader-base for making them read this toxic dishonorable sludge.

  • H

    HannahOct 10, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Please remove this article as it is clearly exploiting a distressing and painful moment in this student’s life. I hope the authors can consider how it might feel to have someone document and publish the details of one of their most difficult moments for all of their fellow students, professors, and community members to read. Many people live with mental health challenges, you are only adding to this person’s pain by turning them into a headline. Take it down.

  • D

    DanaOct 10, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve already expressed my thoughts in an email, but I think it bears repeating here that this article is disgustingly callous and unnecessary. This article reads like a gossip piece detailing a painful and tramatic event in a real person’s life during a time when they deserve the utmost privacy and empathy. It’s appalling that this was allowed to be published at all, let alone with pictures that compromised students’ privacy. This article needs to be taken down immediately.

  • J

    JelenaOct 8, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    This is so disappointing for me to learn that someone who should contribute to our University’s culture through journalism is capable of writing an article in this manner. There is zero compassion expressed and the identity of the person that is already struggling was revealed through these unnecessary photos. Where Is your empathy? Do you understand it was a real person, an actual human you wrote about? This article needs to be removed.

    • U

      Undressed ResidentOct 9, 2021 at 8:20 am

      Thanks for taking the photos out. Still disappointed by how long it’s taking you to respond to requests to take the whole thing down. I’m taking screenshots of the comments section daily.

    • H

      Human beingOct 9, 2021 at 8:33 am

      On second thought, you should put the triggering and journalistically irresponsible pictures back in the article. Your story is about to get a lot more attention!

  • A

    AnonymousOct 7, 2021 at 10:41 am

    The HIPAA Privacy Rule
    The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information and applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. The Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. The Rule also gives patients rights over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections.

    The Privacy Rule is located at 45 CFR Part 160 and Subparts A and E of Part 164.

    Click here to view the combined regulation text of all HIPAA Administrative Simplification Regulations found at 45 CFR 160, 162, and 164.

  • A

    AnonymousOct 7, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Content of a removed comment:

    “Comments are subject to review for slurs and offensive language. Comments will not be edited except to modify profanity.”

    Good morning,
    It is 10:19am on Thursday, October 7th. I have a meeting with the Dean of Students, Chris Maxwell, and the Chair of the Department of Counselor Education, Shedeh Tavakoli, at 11am. You have less than an hour to honor my request that this article revealing personal details of my medical episode as a student with a mental illness diagnosis be removed or altered. At the very least, I ask that photos be removed.
    Anonymous person in distress

  • A

    AnonymousOct 7, 2021 at 10:25 am

    My last comment, made October 6th, was deleted. I have a screenshot of the original content.

    “Comments are subject to review for slurs and offensive language. Comments will not be edited except to modify profanity.”

  • A

    AnonymousOct 7, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Good morning,
    It is 10:19am on Thursday, October 7th. I have a meeting with the Dean of Students, Chris Maxwell, and the head of the Department of Education, Dr. Shedeh Tavakoli, at 11:00am.
    You have less than an hour to honor my request that an article revealing personal details about my medical episode as a student with mental illness be removed or altered. At the very least, I ask that the photos be removed.
    Person in distress (with a medical diagnosis)

  • N

    Nancy EastonOct 6, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    I would like to ask you to please remove this article from the newspaper and website. As others have noted, you have needlessly documented a painful moment from the life of a real person, one of our students, friends and colleagues. And ironically, this article is appearing in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week, a time when we especially try to spread positive and hopeful information about mental health, and reduce the misinformation and stigma that so often surround mental health conditions.

    I would like to share some statistics: according to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the US struggle with their mental health; 75% of all mental health disorders occur in someone’s life before age 24; and 33% of US college students have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. So mental health problems are very common. They are not a reason to distance yourself from someone, or write about them as if you were a spectator. Mental health problems may impact your family, your friends, your fellow students, or you yourself. Please consider how you might feel if you were the subject of this article, and how you would want others to respond to you. And if you as a reader are troubled by an issue that is impacting your own mental health or sense of well-being, please consider talking with someone who can help.

    Student Counseling Services is a free and confidential resource that is available to any currently enrolled student. We offer individual, couples, or group counseling, and would like our University community to know that you don’t have to be having a crisis to meet with a counselor. We often talk with students about academic stress, relationship issues, or other personal concerns that are making it difficult to be successful in college. You can reach us by phone at 773-442-4650 or by email at [email protected], or by walking in to our offices (B-119) during our open hours (M-F 8:30-4:30). For urgent matters after hours, you can reach a counselor on call by dialing our main number and pressing “2” during the outgoing message. We are here to help, and not to judge.

    Nancy Easton, Psy.D., Director of Student Counseling Services

    • A

      Anonymous "resident in distress"Oct 9, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you, Dr. Easton.

  • W

    William SpearsOct 6, 2021 at 10:08 am

    This article shows absolutely no consideration for the privacy or humanity of the student involved in the incident. This is an example of journalism at its worst. The lack of any restraint showed by the journalists and lack of oversight by editorial staff shows that the Independent is not above putting others at risk for further harm for petty views like so many low quality morally bankrupt news sources that rely on pain and shock value to gain popularity. Take the article down.

  • M

    MarkOct 6, 2021 at 4:39 am

    It’s frustrating and unfortunate to see someone who was clearly not in a well state of mind used for clicks and a snappy headline. From your own information you could have only posted this hours after its occurrence. It was probably not even peer reviewed and the fact that this was allowed to post doxxing a poor person’s address in the process is shameful. There was no thought or care put into this article, it feels like a rush job used to capitalize on someone who was not able to consent. Take this sham of an article down immediately and leave this poor person alone. I hope that they are recovering okay, and that this article does not cause them any more stress than what they were already clearly under. This just proves that seedy news outlets will prey on anyone and anything that is seen as a private affair. Shame on every single one of you for not using common sense and basic empathy.

  • K

    KidaOct 6, 2021 at 3:55 am

    This Article is absolutely disgusting, Not only are you exploiting someone having an obvious breakdown but you decided that it could make amazing press. The pure fact that you absolutely thought about using someones vulnerable moment as a way to make a headline, is absolutely vile. Shame on these 3 people who wrote the article and edit it, shame on the police chief who shouldn’t even be able to comment on the matter, and shame on whomever allowed this to get posted. I’m absolutely disappointed in each of them. I hope the person who this article is about is okay, and I hope they’re better, but I also hope this gets taken down. This is pure violation of someones private life, and it shows how little you care about those with mental disorders.

  • J

    JulesOct 6, 2021 at 3:53 am

    I disagree with Dennis’s comment, this was written in poor taste.
    It costs zero dollars to treat people going through severe distress with empathy and NOT write an overnight article about it. Come on, published the next day? Who told you that this was a good topic to write about?
    I urge you to remove this story as fast as you can, it reads as dramatized and callous.

  • C

    CarolineOct 1, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Let me get this straight. You recognized that this person was in distress and was suffering from a mental episode, saw the potentially triggering “red substance” on the wall and took pictures of it and the door containing someone’s address and thought, “yes! This is a great story! I’m such a good journalist!!” Shame on you. This isn’t just a story; this is someone’s life that you are broadcasting. They were obviously not in their right mind when this happened, but what happens after they eventually recover? How are they supposed to come back to school or to their own home without being stigmatized? Whatever backlash they face is now on you and this paper. This is disgusting, this “journalist” is disgusting, and this needs to be taken down.

  • E

    ElizabethSep 30, 2021 at 12:47 am

    It’s disappointing to see something like this posted on your site. Why was the apartment number on the ‘red substance’ photo needed- did you think to get permission from the person who lives in that room? That’s a bystander’s address, I sure hope you did.
    Did you ever stop to think how the person this article is about would feel seeing this article either?
    Shame on you and shame on John Escalante for giving you a comment.
    This isn’t journalism.

  • L

    LindsaySep 30, 2021 at 12:44 am

    So… you thought it was okay to talk about the person by leaving out their name, but didn’t have the peace of mind to blur out a room number or the decorations on the door? Doesn’t matter if this is their room or someone else’s. Not only does this person now have to deal with what happened to them, but also now faces others knowing what apartment number this is and what floor. Whoever lives there now may now receive threats, bullying, and public humiliation. Do Better. Remove, crop, or censor the photo or take down the article before you put someone else at risk of harm.

    • S

      Student with rightsOct 9, 2021 at 10:02 am

      Note to the editor: thank you for acting on your “concern for my privacy” by removing the graphic photos 8 days after the original publication of this piece. I am taking screenshots of all of my comments that you are deleting. Freedom of speech ??

    • T

      TiffanyOct 9, 2021 at 11:05 am

      This is disgusting to read. If someone is in distress you don’t make a media post about it. Mental health is nothing to joke about or make rude comments about. This needs to come down. This is extremely unprofessional. Did you consider what this could do for the student who experienced this? You should never be allowed to write again! You are part of our problem and why no one talks mental health. You disgust me.

    • V

      ValerieOct 9, 2021 at 11:53 am

      Please delete this article, this does not reflect NEIU’s mission in supporting students. You chose to profit from clicks about a community member’s personal and darkest moments. This only further perpetuates, stigmatizes, and criminalizes mental health concerns in our society. Please connect with mental health professionals to learn more on how damaging publishing an article such as this can be.

    • A

      AmyOct 9, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      This is an exploitative article. There is no reason that these details need to be shared. This isn’t ethical journalism. Please take it down.

    • A

      AmyOct 9, 2021 at 11:26 pm

      This is explorative of the individual that experienced a mental health crisis. Please take this down. This is unethical journalism. It’s embarrassing and I’m disappointed. Take down.

  • J

    Jack C DoppeltSep 29, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Pleased that you covered the story.
    Q few editing comments:
    Police Chief Escalante-fist name? Police chief of what?
    From the photo, I can’ make out that what was writtern on the wall was a “red substance.”

    Thanks again foe the coverage.

  • D

    DennisSep 28, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Well written article. Very well done you all.

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