On Wednesday March 28, the University of Minnesota Police Department received a report of a male suspect attempting to record a video of a student in a Peik Hall restroom stall.
On Friday March 30th, an email was sent to all College of Education and Human Development students by CEHD Dean Jean Quam addressing the incident in Peik Hall.
The statement began, “Some of you are already aware that a CEHD student, who was attending a class in Peik Hall on Tuesday, encountered a man in the women’s restroom who attempted to take photos of her while she was in a restroom stall. The incident was immediately reported to the police, and consistent with the University’s new sexual misconduct policy, it was reported to Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA).”
Later in the email, Quam states that the suspect is a blonde-haired white male with a larger build and is approximately 40 years old. She also notes that the university is taking several steps to increase the security of Peik Hall, such as: adding an additional security camera, posting signs that the building is under surveillance, and asking the University Police Department to increase patrols in the area.
The incident occured only weeks after university officials drafted a proposed policy that would, among other things, allow individuals to go to the restroom that corresponds with their gender identities instead of the one corresponding with their biological sex. Tina Marisam, the Director of EOAA and Title IX Coordinator for the University of Minnesota is listed as the owner of the policy on the draft.
In response to the Minnesota Republic’s request for comment, the University News Service released this statement:
“The University of Minnesota strives to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, staff and faculty. The Equity & Access: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Names and Pronouns policy is being developed with this in mind and will aid in providing guidance on how to support trans and gender-nonconforming community members. The policy is being developed through an extensive consultation process and is a step forward in ensuring equal access to employment and academic opportunities for all of our community members, regardless of their gender identity.”
The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information regarding the case is encouraged to call the UMPD at 612-624-2677.