Members of the UCPD reported to the Regenstein Library on April 2 after a female student called to alert them that a stranger was following her throughout the library.
Four officers and a sergeant responded to the call and found the man in the library, according to Bob Richards, the law enforcement coordinator for the South East Chicago Commission. Police did not arrest the suspect, but he agreed to undergo a psychological evaluation at the University hospital. The hospital later released the man and referred him to the University counseling resource center.
Police would not provide the names of those involved because an investigation is ongoing. UCPD associate director Lee Caldwell, however, said both individuals were in their 20s and did not previously know each other. “It was purely a chance meeting,” he said.
Richards said the male involved is not currently enrolled in the University, although he was at one time.
The female student called the police after she noticed that the unknown male appeared to be shadowing her, according to Richards. “She observed him at a few locations within the library, and it seemed to her that he was following her,” he said. “She exited the library, but he followed her out to the Reynolds Club. She left the Reynolds Club and went back to the library, and again he was apparently behind her.”
Richards said police could not arrest the suspect because he did not break the law. He may have had mental difficulties. “There was no arrest here, because there was no crime,” he said. “This was something the police thought the hospital could handle.” Similarly, Caldwell said UCPD is continuing the investigation, but so far there is “no indication of any criminal intent.” He said the investigation consists of repeated interviews with the parties involved.
“We have to keep doing what we’re doing before we reach any conclusions,” he said. “The case is still under investigation, and we’re going wherever that leads us.”
Richards said students do not often report incidences of stalking. “It’s not at all common,” he said. “This would be unusual, something along these lines.”
UCPD has protective measures in place despite the infrequency of such reports, Caldwell said. Police advised the female to alert UCPD immediately should she determine that the man was stalking her again.
“The safeguards that are in place for every student are in place for her,” Caldwell said. “We made sure she knows that.”