On a crowded day in UNM’s Zimmerman Library, a man who many say was clearly not a student, exposed himself to freshman Megan Samora.
“I made eye contact with him and it’s just my nature to smile when I make eye contact with people. So then, he sat down at the desk that was in front of mine,” said Samora.
Samora says she first saw the man’s hand moving around his stomach and he soon pulled back his t-shirt to reveal to her he was touching himself.
“Part of me was thinking ‘I should get up and scream at him,’ ‘I should get my pencil bag and throw it at him’. I thought if I called enough attention to him they could stop him from leaving, but after the anger came fear and I was thinking if he’s willing to expose himself in public like that who’s to say what else he can do,” said Samora.
Samora got up and ran to get the library security guard. The security guard followed Samora back to the area she was in but the man was gone.
“She asked me to tear a piece of paper out of my notebook since it was sitting right there and she started writing down [my] description of him,” said Samora.
But evidently, that is all the campus security guard did.
“A Lobo Alert wasn’t issued and they didn’t report it to police. So that just meant only the people at the library knew about this man,” said Samora.
Samora called UNM Police five days after the Jan. 25 incident and told officers herself. She thinks if the guard had reported this incident to police it may have prevented the incidents that followed it.
“It’s one thing to be negligent but it’s another thing to be negligent and completely irresponsible,” said Samora.
The second case of a man revealing and touching himself in front of a female student was Feb. 11 and the third was April 1.
“[The guard] just figured this is a one and done deal but it wasn’t a one and done deal obviously other people have suffered from this,” said Samora.
Lt. Trace Peck with UNM’s Police Department said their officers became involved six weeks ago, after the second incident. The security guard did report both incidents to police.
“I can’t account for what was going through the security officers head or where the communication failed but it obviously failed,” said Samora.
Since then, Peck says officers have been staking out in the library.
“What’s been done the last six weeks is basically just have undercover officers sit there and spend as much time as possible,” said Peck.
Tuesday, UNM Police and the outside security agency contracted to patrol parts of UNM’s campus including the library, met to discuss how best to prevent issues like this from happening on an open campus.
“We’re always going to run into these types of problems its how were notified, how we respond when something like this happens,” said Peck.
Peck says they’re planning to add a new camera system, more cameras and will possibly hire a full-time roving patrol officer.
“We’re taking these incidents very seriously,” said Peck.
Samora is happy to hear that UNM Police and campus security are now taking these incidents seriously. However, she thinks Securitas guards must be more vigilant for any plan to work.
“Someone said they’re supposed to be the eyes and ears for UNMPD, but they need to be better eyes and ears,” said Samora.
UNM Police say it is possible the man who exposed himself to Samora came back and exposed himself to another female student, as their descriptions are similar.
Police say the third incident is a different man. They believe all men are likely homeless.
UNM Police urge students to call 911 anytime they feel uncomfortable.
Samora is very thankful for the UNM Police officers who helped her file her own report. She says they took her seriously and gave her resources to help with the anxiety that followed this incident.