Dear students and faculty,
All of the faculty and many if not all students of the Anthropology Department are aware that there was an unfortunate incident in our suite on Wednesday. A former student was in the Department; he had come to speak to me about an academic matter. When my door was closed, he interacted with multiple graduate students in the graduate lounge in a harassing and menacing manner. This is certainly unacceptable to all of us, and when I learned of the details I engaged even more intensively in the effort I had already initiated to make sure that this person does not return to the Department and that appropriate actions are taken.
This has taken a little time. Over the last few days, I have contacted multiple authorities at GSU, including but not limited to GSU Police, to receive support and guidance in how to proceed. Here are a few key things to know about what has happened so far:
* The person in question has been explicitly instructed by Graduate Services that he does not have campus privileges and should not be present on campus at all - including but not limited to our Department.
* I have followed GSU reporting protocols, and students who reported their experience to me will be given access to support resources.
* I have given a formal report about the events to GSU Police, who will investigate. Anyone who wishes to add their own statement to the case can do so.
Here are additional things to know for the coming days:
* If you are familiar with this individual and see him on campus, please call GSU Police at 404-413-3333 and/or alert me, Lynda, or another faculty member immediately so that we can do so.
* If you encounter ANYONE in the Department (or on campus) who harasses you, makes you feel unsafe, and/or who you think does not have a legitimate reason to be in our space, please follow those same steps.
* Do not confront any such person yourself, nor engage in any way. Please remove yourself as possible and call GSU Police.
* Be aware that when we in the Department call GSU Police to report a person who should not be in our space, they will intervene and issue a Criminal Trespass Warrant (meaning that that person will be arrested if they are seen on campus again).
* Finally, if you are in need of support for this or any other situation, you may seek confidential support at the counseling center: https://counselingcenter.gsu.edu/ or GSU Victim Assistance: https://victimassistance.gsu.edu/ .
A few members of our community experienced direct harm as a result of this situation, and all of us are troubled by that. Please know that I am doing all I can to pursue appropriate action that both attends to this community's concerns and follows GSU policies and official guidance, so that our steps can be prudent and enforceable. We will also need to keep working on ways to keep our space as safe as possible, while balancing that need with the relatively open access to the suite that is needed for student life. I will be investigating possibilities for installing a card swipe system at the front of our suite. These things do not tend to happen quickly at GSU, but I will pursue that and I welcome other ideas you may have.
Next week, I will be on campus in the afternoon on Monday and then out of town on a family vacation for the rest of the week. Dr. Turner-Livermore will be serving as Acting Chair in my absence, but I will be available for any urgent needs by email, as always, and faculty have my phone contact information. My door is open for conversations any of you want to have about this, and I know that is true of other faculty as well.
I am very sorry that this happened. Thanks to everyone for your patience as we navigate this, and again, please let me know what help you need if you are not receiving it, or what concerns you have if they have not been addressed.
Jennifer Patico (she/her)
Professor and Chair
Department of Anthropology
Georgia State University
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>