WAVERLY — An investigation is ongoing into claims a man entered unlocked dorms and bathrooms and harassed female students, leading to new security measures at Wartburg College.
Waverly Police confirmed no charges had been filed yet against the suspect, who allegedly entered unlocked dorm rooms and bathrooms in Vollmer and Grossmann halls, touching students without their permission and taking money between Feb. 2 and Feb. 4.
Police said charges were “likely” once the investigation is complete.
Wartburg officials have stepped up security measures around the dorms by installing cameras in 11 new locations in addition to 30 already installed around campus. They also plan to install locks on bathrooms as well as transition away from motion-sensor bathroom lights to ones that permanently stay on.
Dan Kittle, Wartburg’s dean of student life, met with about 200 students in the days following the incidents, said Emily Christensen, Wartburg news director.
“Dan and his team stayed long past the scheduled hour to hear concerns, comments and suggestions from many of the students present,” Christensen said. “Out of that conversation, as well as many discussions with smaller groups of impacted students and student leaders, came several suggestions for ways the college could enhance security in and around the residence halls and on campus in general.”
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The college already had intended to install more cameras this spring, Christensen said, but the timeline was moved up in response to the incidents.
Community bathrooms, shared by residents of a dorm’s floor, will also have locks installed in the next few weeks, she said.
“Though research showed that most, if not all, of our peer institutions do not have locks on those doors either, the administration decided to move forward with the installation of locks on each of those bathroom doors,” Christensen said.
Because one of the incidents involved the suspect turning off the lights in a bathroom while a student was showering, lighting in bathrooms will also be changed. Wartburg currently uses motion-sensor lights in its dorm bathrooms.
“During these conversations, students said they would feel safer if the lights in the bathroom could not be turned off and on, and since then we have changed out those switches to ensure the master switches are locked on at all times,” Christensen said.
Kittle was out of the country through Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.