Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

The Independent

Guest brings firearm into student housing

Robin Bridges, Editor in Chief

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No students were injured on Sept. 20 when a visitor carrying a firearm was reported to campus police. Reports on the incident are still being filed as of Sept. 23 leaving many details unavailable for now.

At approximately 11 p.m. students at the Nest were told to go into their rooms and lock their doors.

A Nest resident who asked to remain anonymous said, “I was trying to figure out what was going on…The (Resident Advisors) kept yelling at everyone to go to their rooms. The RAs said, ‘don’t ask questions and stay in your rooms.’ We weren’t getting answers from anyone.”

Public Relations Director Mike Hines confirmed that University Police received a report of an individual in possession of a firearm around 11 p.m. at the Nest. “No students were threatened,” Hines said in an email. “With the use of security cameras, University Police were quickly able to determine the subject had left the campus grounds. They estimate the subject was on campus for fewer than 10 minutes.”

Nest residents were notified through an email from American Campus Communities of the incident the following evening on Sept. 21 around 5 p.m.

The email read: “We were notified that on September 20th at approximately 11:00 PM a firearm was brought into the student housing building by a non-resident guest. No one was injured. We are cooperating with the Northeastern University Illinois Police Department, who is actively investigating the incident.

“As a reminder, firearms are prohibited in Northeastern Illinois University student housing.  Residents are responsible for their guests and for their guest’s compliance with the rules and regulations in the lease agreement. If you see anyone with a firearm, please notify the police immediately by calling 773-442-5511 or 5511 from a campus phone.  If you are aware of someone storing a firearm on the property, please contact the management office, or contact Northeastern Illinois’ University Police Department at 773-442-4100 or [email protected]

The Nest resident feels that because of this incident, their sense of security has been compromised.

“All I could do was hide. I was really scared and trying to find out what was going on. Everyone kept texting the RAs,” they said. “I don’t feel safe here anymore. I’ve experienced gun violence, drive by’s. The Nest was my safe zone.”\

Hines’ email also said, “The Nest has strict protocols and procedures for who can enter the building. All visitors are required to check in at the front desk. Northeastern takes security at The Nest very seriously, and we encourage all residents to do their part in ensuring a safe environment and protecting secure parts of the building. The University Police regularly patrol inside and outside The Nest.”

In August of this year, NEIU was awarded the safest campus in Illinois by ADT security services. The home security company used data available from the FBI and Department of Education to compile the list of safest campuses in each state.  

The Independent reached out to the American Campus Communities corporate office but as of the time of print, the request for a comment from Student Housing Director Keith Cosentino was not returned.

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