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Information on unauthorized resident in student housing

On Oct. 27, the Stanford Department of Public Safety cited, removed from campus, and issued a stay-away letter to a non-student, William Curry, who had been occupying a basement living area in Crothers Hall. The area in which he had been living consists of common spaces along with guest rooms that are typically used when a student needs to temporarily relocate from their regular campus housing assignment.

Curry had been reported to be on campus several times beginning in December 2021. The first time Curry was found to be living in a dormitory, he was cited for violating the law and removed from campus. Since then, the university’s Department of Public Safety has obtained multiple stay-away letters, a prerequisite to citing someone for trespass on campus, to present to Curry but was unable to locate him until the incident on Oct. 27.

While Stanford has protocols and policies in place to prevent non-students from entering and living in our residences, the unique aspects of this case and Curry’s persistence and ability to ingratiate himself with our student community have made it clear that gaps exist in those protocols. We have undertaken a review to develop our procedures and prevent this type of incident from happening again.

Some of the areas we are immediately focusing on include ensuring that information is shared with residential staff across the campus if someone has been identified as living in or accessing student housing inappropriately, and ensuring that local residential staff are apprised of authorized temporary residents.

Local personnel will be notified when a student is assigned to a guest room so it is clear who is permitted inside a residence. Although it is unknown if Curry ever entered a residence by pretending he was locked out of a guest room, lock-out requests for such spaces will be handled by professional staff who will verify the student’s assignment before providing access.

These efforts come on top of a number of additional steps Stanford has been taking to provide for campus security more broadly. They include:

  • Security cameras: We have begun an effort to further expand the presence of security cameras on campus, guided by standards to ensure appropriate use. Currently we expect an additional 250 cameras to be installed per year over the next four years.
  • Lighting: Efforts are under way to evaluate whether exterior lighting needs to be enhanced in some areas of the Stanford campus.
  • Safety app: A smartphone app providing one-touch 911 connectivity and other features is being evaluated for potential rollout to the Stanford community. This would supplement the existing blue emergency tower system that provides immediate connection to 911 from locations across the campus.
  • Security presence: Additional security personnel have been deployed on the Stanford campus on a temporary basis following the reported sexual assault in early October that resulted in a Timely Warning to the campus community.
  • Transportation: The university is expanding the operating hours of the 5-SURE evening escort resource for students, faculty, and staff and is evaluating the reinstatement of evening transportation options between the Stanford campus, the Stanford Shopping Center, and the Palo Alto Caltrain station.

Extensive additional information about campus safety at Stanford can be found in the annual Safety, Security & Fire Report published by the Department of Public Safety. We continue to be committed to a safe campus environment, and to identifying and addressing areas where our efforts can be further strengthened.