No more sleepovers/Nest firearm update

Cecilia Hernandez and Sarahy Lopez

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A personal dispute led an individual to bring a gun into the Nest on the night of Sept. 20. According to campus police Chief John Escalante and University Public Relations Director Michael Hines, the suspect has been identified and progress is being made in the investigation.

Officials do not expect there will be a continuing threat to the university community.

Beginning Oct. 3, the Nest prohibited all guests from staying past 11 p.m. This policy is planned to be changed on Oct. 20. Nest resident Brandon Blade said, “I can’t have people over past 11, now that people can’t stay the night anymore. My friend Elisa (Salgado), who is also my coworker she’s been staying the night on Wednesday nights because she lives in Bronzeville which is two hours away,” Blade said.

The change will allow guests to stay in the Nest overnight on weekends only. Several new measures will also be implemented to track overnight guests on Friday and Saturday nights.

In spite of the new measures to tighten or secure student safety, Blade said he has concerns, “There’s been issues with people not signing in guests so they don’t know who’s there. There’s been fights between guests, and the place has been smelling like weed.”

“She doesn’t get out of class until 9:45. So she’s not getting home until 12, sometimes one in the morning, and that’s going to the southside. Not to mention that you’re going through buses and transit and you’re switching all the time. That’s dangerous. Especially because she’s a petite woman,” he said.

Salgado revealed her past experiences regarding taking public transportation late at night before Blade offered her a place to stay. “One example, I was on the train and a guy got in front of my face, for a minute because he was not sober, I thought he was going to punch me and I was really scared. And then he just walked away and I started crying. I was going to take an Uber home, but when I checked the price it was 30 dollars to go back home,” she said. “I feel safe when I sleep over, I’m glad NEIU allows guests to come over.”

Some students feel the policy changes are unfair. “I’m tired of being punished for what other people are doing. They let these kids run amuck for five weeks. No one was being punished for anything. It was smelling like a hot box, no one did anything about it,” Blade said.

In an email to the Independent Hines said, “A university security officer will be assigned to the Nest seven nights a week. The University Police are working on additional measures to ensure the continued safety and security of The Nest.”

Hines said, “ University Police officers will increase their presence with a satellite office in The Nest. University Police also are in the process of hiring a sergeant who will be assigned to the overnight watch.”

Blade confirmed that to this point the Nest has not had a security guard only front desk staff. “There was no information sent out about that. By the time we found out about that it was over. Basically, the guy left, so they weren’t sure if it was a gun in the cameras, but they felt confident enough that it was,” Blade said.

Residents assistants will also be subject to additional training regarding the new safety measures. The new American Campus Community Director was unavailable for comment.

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