Late afternoon on September 12th, an intruder broke into the Piedmont Central dormitory, sending hundreds of residents into a frenzy. The building, which houses over 1,000 students, was put on lockdown.
Since Residential Assistants are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, we were unable to get a direct response.
One of the residents at Central spoke with a Residential Assistant and retold the story from their point of view.
“They were downstairs in the group room. They were going to have an event that night and they were setting up for it and a bunch of other people were there too. The cops came inside and asked if they saw a guy running or anyone who looked suspicious.”
Georgia State Housing declined to speak on the matter. Some R.A.s were not told about the entirety of the problem.
Scared students were texting in the floor group chats questioning their safety, anxiously waiting for any information regarding the apparent danger in their living quarters. They texted messages like, “Are we in danger?” and “I’m so scared.”
R.A.s communicated vaguely with their floor group chats trying to assure them everything is fine and that all residents need to stay locked in their rooms. They said that the lockdown was just a precaution.
One of the residents chose to remain anonymous when asked about what happened.
“I didn’t know what was going on. There’s no reason for us to not know. We want to go out and talk to people if they are not giving us the information. I feel like it would have been better if they just told us up front,” they said.
Due to restricted information on the situation, students were left to come up with their own conclusions on what happened.
“People were saying that apparently some guy at the RaceTrac got arrested and he supposedly had a gun and he escaped. Usually, a lot of people will come in and out of Central and people will just hold the door for them. Some other people said that he asked if they had a bathroom, and he just jumped over the turnstile and ran in the hallway.”
Visitor access to the dormitories is increasingly strict. Identification is required at the front desk for every individual if they don’t live on campus. However, security was futile in this event.
No announcements, emails, or any further details were given to students outside of the residential assistants communicating informally with their own floors. The rest of the student body and housing remained unaware of the September 12th events, and almost all information was kept under wraps.
The Georgia State Police Department declined to be interviewed.
Steps have been taken to prevent crime in the area such as the blue light security boxes and continual police presence, yet there is much more work to do.
Crime in the student housing corridor is a consistent problem for Georgia State y. Last academic year, whenever any crimes occurred concerning the campus, automated campus safety alerts were sent out to students no matter if they lived in Georgia State housing or not, but this year they seem to be few and far between.
Students are continuously kept in the dark with regard to situations in their own dormitories and overall campus. With every step forward for campus safety, three steps are taken back.