Trespasser in Chung Apartments raises safety concerns for students


The Chung Apartments on Fifth Avenue. Photo Credit: Lilly Kubit

Carson Gates

Jan. 26 was shaping up to be a normal day for AnnaMarie Zayas ‘22. The senior, returning late that night from student teaching, parked her car at Chatham Apartments. While walking back to her residence at Chung Apartments, though, she passed a man holding an umbrella; he appeared to be waiting to be let into Chatham Apartments, Tower D. 

“I didn’t think anything of it. People wait for someone to let them in all the time,” Zayas said. 

As she approached the doors of Chung, she heard footsteps behind her. It was the man she just passed in front of Tower D. 

Zayas felt uneasy, so she quickly found her keycard and hurried toward the front door. She scanned in, and as the door was closing, she heard the man yell to her to hold the door.  

Frantically, Zayas ran upstairs to her room, as the man behind her ran and grabbed the door just before it closed. 

“We heard the door on our floor open,” said Zayas, “and it was him.”

Zayas bolted the door shut and fixed a chair against the door handle to keep her safe. She then called campus security and explained to them what happened. 

This incident has raised questions and concerns from students about safety on Chatham University’s campus in Shadyside. 

Before campus security arrived to address the Jan. 26 incident, Max Wigfield ‘24 ran to the second floor to confront the man. 

“I figured their door was locked, which was good, but there were other people on that floor and in that building who were home,” he said. “I just knew other people weren’t ready if someone barged into their door.”

Wigfield, with only a mask and his phone, began to question the man. 

“He wasn’t giving any straight answers,” he said. 

After a few minutes of Wigfield stalling the man, campus security arrived and arrested the suspect. 

“Public safety showed up extremely quickly,” Wigfield said. 

“The suspect was transferred by officers to another facility due to a personal condition identified while in custody,” said Chatham Police Chief Donna Grossi. “His arraignment with [Chatham University Police Department] will follow his discharge from the facility.” 

Students received an email about what happened at Chung, as well as an attempted snatching of a student’s purse along Fifth Avenue. This incident was in connection with the same suspect who entered Chung. The attempted robbery happened before the man tried to enter Chung, but it was only reported after the suspect was already in custody. 

Overall safety on campus 

Beyond these incidents, students told the Communiqué about two main doors of other residence halls that could be opened without the use of a keycard: Rea House and Fickes Hall.

The Rea House residents had put in work orders that they said had been unaddressed until the incident that occurred at Chung. The door can still be opened without a keycard, if it is not pushed all the way closed. 

The door at Fickes Hall had been able to be pulled open if it was yanked hard enough. This was fixed by maintenance staff the day following the incident at Chung. 

Chatham Police gave this advice to students regarding safety on campus.

“Be cautious of others entering buildings directly behind you and report any suspicious activity. Be aware of your surroundings as much as possible and take action to keep yourself safe.” 

To report a crime or public safety matter, contact Chatham University Police Department