A few months ago I wrote about a strange man who had been wandering into my office and acting in a disturbing way. He continued to appear at random times throughout the summer, in my department and in other science departments, and was seen stealing books. He pretended that he was my student or was working for me, and frequently asked people where I was and how to contact me. On numerous occasions when he made an appearance, I or others called the campus police, but he was never caught.. until today.
Today he showed up in my office and I sent off a quick 'call the police' email to a department colleague who checks his email every 8 seconds. The strange man left my office, and I wasn't sure if my colleague had called the police, so I called the police myself and they came quickly and apprehended the man. Because I had made the call to the police, I had to identify the man as the 'person of interest', and he started shouting at me that he hadn't done anything wrong and I had no right to call the police on him. The police issued him a citation for trespassing and let him go, then the police officer came to my office and proceeded to criticize me for how I have handled the situation.
First he told me that if I don't want to be bothered by people like that, I should keep my door closed at all times and only open it for people I know. He said "I don't think it will wear you out too much to have to get out of your desk chair from time to time and walk all the way to the door, ask who is there, and open it. Then you can return to your desk chair." Perhaps he has Issues with people who work in offices?
I invited harassment by provocatively leaving my office door open?
Then he asked me if I preferred to be listed on the report as "Dr." or "Professor". I said that it didn't matter, either was fine. He said "Ooooh, how nice for you to have all those titles." That was bizarre as well. This is a university campus and this police officer is a member of the campus police force. This place is littered with PhD's, and some of them are even women.
Then he said "If this guy has been bothering you since May, why haven't you called the police before?". I said that I had called the police before, as had many others in my department and other departments throughout the summer. He said that he had no record of this. I said that he could talk to the administrative assistant in the main office for a full accounting of the trespasser's activities, and he could also check with the Other Science Departments to find out what had been stolen from them. He replied "Yeah sure, me and my crack team of investigators will get right on it, science lady." Then he rolled his eyes and walked out.
Lest anyone think that my days are relentlessly grim and filled with people who insult and patronize me, I have had many fun and interesting interactions with colleagues and students, and a major paper that I worked on for years was published this week.
6 months ago