Man enters UT Austin dorm room by mistake, won’t face criminal charges, UTPD says

Crime

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information provided by the University of Texas at Austin Police Department

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man who went into a dorm room and touched someone while they were sleeping early Sunday morning did so by mistake and will not be charged with a crime, the University of Texas at Austin Police Department said.

The Monday update from UTPD said the man, who was a student, “voluntarily came forward and identified themselves as the person described in the alert.” UTPD sent out the campus-wide alert at 4 a.m. Sunday, telling students in residence halls to lock their doors.

It happened around 2 a.m. Sunday at the Jester West Residence Hall on East 21st Street, near the intersection of San Jacinto Boulevard.

According to UTPD, a man walked into the room and touched the person’s stomach. When the person woke up, he apologized and then left.

MAP: The incident happened at the Jester West Residence Hall on east 21st Street near the intersection of San Jacinto Boulevard (KXAN photo)
MAP: The incident happened at the Jester West Residence Hall on East 21st Street near the intersection of San Jacinto Boulevard (KXAN photo)

Olivia Liu, a UT junior, is now on edge walking into her dorm.

“Yeah, I was so scared [when I heard about it],” Liu said.

There are at least two checkpoints where students have to swipe to get in, though it’s easy to piggyback off of someone going in or out.

“In front of the rooms, there’s a gate just like this and we have to swipe our card,” Liu said.

UT police urge students to make sure they’re locking their doors.

“All of this, you know, is very concerning to us,” Joell McNew with Safehorns said. Safehorns is an organization that promotes safety for the UT community.

“We had multiple incidents at various times of day and night,” McNew said.

McNew said she talked with parents whose students are dealing with recent incidents similar to what occurred Saturday night.

“Are students propping doors? Are they leaving doors unlocked?” McNew asks. “So, there’s a lot of questions there.”

UT has over 300 emergency call boxes on-campus, that have recently been upgraded — but McNew’s group wants more of those off campus too.

“There’s over 30,000 students that call west campus home,” McNew said.

The student affected reached out to KXAN and said she called her Resident Assistant right after it happened, who then called police immediately to report the incident. The man apologized and left. Police say officers responded immediately after it was reported.

Community members can download the LiveSafe at UT Austin app, which allows immediate communication with UTPD dispatch via text.

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