Concerns arise over desk receptionist safety

The+Desk+reception+area+in+Mashuda+Hall

The Desk reception area in Mashuda Hall

Last week, the Marquette University Police Department alerted students via email that an individual was threatening and striking women on campus.

The email stated that MUPD was working with the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health and Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office to hold the individual for long-term suspension and treatment. The email also provided a photo and description of the man.

The next day, March 15, MUPD arrested a suspect in relation to the threats and placed them in custody. Charges are currently pending.

Ainsley Owen, a sophomore in the College of Nursing and desk receptionist at Eckstein Tower, said that this individual entered Mashuda Hall. Owen said that the individual threw a water bottle at the desk receptionist; however, from what was reported the bottle did not physically hit the student.

“Before the campus wide email was sent out we had a picture posted by our desk to indicate that we need to be mindful of this individual entering any residence hall. If he did enter the dorm we were/are supposed to contact MUPD immediately,” Owen said.

MUPD assistant cheief Captain Jeff Kranz aid that the only incident they know of the individual harassing desk receptionists is when he threw the water bottle, but MUPD arrested him directly after the incident occurred.

“He is still in custody and we are currently working with the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health office and District Attorney’s office because a lot of his actions were driven by mental health issues, so it is a challenging case,” Kranz said.

Caleb Kwasigroch, a sophomore in the College of Communication and desk receptionist at Eckstein Tower, said the desk receptionists have not been given much information about the details of the case, or about what is happening with the individual.

Owen said that although she typically feels safe working as a desk receptionist, it was scary that there was a man on campus harassing females and receptionists.

“At Eckstein the DRs are the first people seen. There is also not a lot of space between the door and the desk making me feel more vulnerable at times. Marquette hasn’t really done anything to prevent future incidents like this from happening, its hard though because there really isn’t too much they can do,” Owen said in an email.

Kwasigroch said that there have been no new precautions set in place to prevent incidents like this from happening again, but the desk receptionists will only get further instructions on what do do if/when this man comes near.

“MUPD sent out an email saying they were able to arrest someone related to the situation, and they are hoping to create a more permanent solution in terms of detaining the individual. That being said they haven’t given us any updates on the situation,” Owen said in an email.

Kranz said that there is a panic alarm at each desk receptionist’s area. He said when one of these alarms is pushed it automatically notifies MUPD and they will immediately send squads to that location.

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at julianna.abuzzahab@marquette.edu.