Some students left uneasy after last week’s dorm intrusion


The once nice view of the valley from Rodes Harlin has become a site dominated by the construction for the new dorm Hilltopper Hall.

Michael Crimmins, News reporter

Editor’s note: After publication, the Herald followed up with HRL for a retroactive response to a student’s comment to due an error in the reporting process. HRL declined to comment farther. The Herald regrets the error.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story did not clarify that Housing and Residence Life was contacted and directed the Herald to Director of Media Relations Jace Lux. This information has been added. The Herald regrets the error.

After the case of unauthorized entry into several dorm buildings, some students feel unsafe in their rooms.

Last week, an unauthorized individual gained entrance into Hilltopper and Rodes Harlin. The individual has been identified by police as Darryl Bright, 30, who was arrested after trying to enter Pearce Ford Tower last Monday night.

Breanna Dennison, a sophomore at WKU, lives on the third floor of Rodes.

“This is my home and I deserve to feel safe, not paranoid and unable to get rest,” said Dennison. “I’m still getting my sleep schedule back to normal.”

According to Dennison, she called WKU police at 12:58 a.m. after she saw Bright in the halls near her room acting “suspicious,” but she said the first mention of Bright was in the floor GroupMe at 12:18 a.m. where residents asked why he was there. 

After she called WKUPD, Dennison wrote an email to HRL expressing her discomfort.

“I am a resident of Rodes and it is no secret what happened to every girl in this dorm on Sunday night,” Dennison wrote. “We were all terrified and paranoid over what was going to happen in the next minute.”

“It was scary, I couldn’t see his hands. What was he [Bright] going to do?” said Dennison.

In her email, she said she was unable to get any sleep after the incident because she was “still afraid” and “traumatized.” She is upset by the apparent lack of security and response of the HRL.

She concluded her email by demanding action from the HRL to make student residents feel comfortable again in their dorms.

“We are still afraid. Please do something. Send a statement. Warn others. Make us feel safe,” Dennison said in the email. “Counseling should be broadcasted for these girls that are traumatized.” 

One resident of Rodes Harlin who is still troubled by the incident is Amberlee Celia, a studio arts major. 

“Before I talk about the incident, I’d like to state that as a woman, I’m used to keeping on my toes; I know to look under the car before getting in, checking the backseat, and to never walk alone,” Celia said in an email. “I find this all relevant to add, so it’s known that I take the precautions… but I still wasn’t prepared.”

She feels she is being “belittled” by some on her floor for being “dramatic” and paranoid after the incident. 

“It feels like a slap in the face for the very person who is supposed to be concerned for your well-being telling you to basically shut up after you voice your concerns.”

She feels the RAs and the staff should have taken the situation more seriously than they did.

“A girl put in the floor group chat that something could’ve happened to her as she was face to face with the man in the kitchen,” Celia said in an email. In response the girl was told to complain in another group chat. 

The incident happened last Sunday and Monday, and as the semester continues, Dennison feels like the incident is being swept under the rug by HRL.

“I feel like it was a thing that happened, and now people are quiet about it,” Dennison said. “Which is not how this should be addressed. It shouldn’t be swept under the rug. How long is it going to be till something else happens? Could be tomorrow or in two years from now.”

Housing and Residence Life sent out an email following the entry aimed at renewing security measures in WKU dorm buildings, such as retraining desk assistants.

In the HRL email, it said the department would hold town hall meetings in the affected dorms to discuss concerns and answer questions.

When reached out to with questions, HRL redirected the Herald to Jace Lux, director of media relations.

These meetings were held on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. in Hilltopper and 7 p.m. in Rodes Harlin, according to Lux.  He said these meetings were open to any and all students, but the date and times of these meetings were not cited in the original email.

Dennison went to one meeting and said, in her opinion, they were snarky, unapologetic and nonchalant about the unauthorized entry.

“In the meeting they said it wasn’t a situation…It [the meeting] felt more like a band aid and a PR stunt,” she said.

When Bright was arrested, according to an email from Melissa Bailey, WKU public information officer, he would not give the officer his name and was booked as John Doe in the uniform citation.

The citation states that Bright was arrested at 8:48 p.m. at Helm Library. 

It has not been disclosed what he did while in the dorms. Since the incident HRL has posted signs at the car scanners warning against “tailgating.”

“Tailgating,” as HRL calls it, is when a student holds the door for the person behind them. Allowing them to enter a building without scanning their card. 

“I do not have any additional information to add that wasn’t addressed in the HRL email, but, as always, we encourage our students to be aware of their surroundings and to contact the WKU Police Department about any safety concerns,” Jace Lux said in an email.

HRL and WKUPD are working together to increase security university-wide.

“WKUPD is increasing patrols and is working with Housing and Residence Life to enhance safety and security protocols,” according to a statement from the university. 

News reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm