Break-in at UCC Hughes leaves campus shaken

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The inside view of Eliza Miller's room on the first floor of the UCC Hughes. Photo courtesy of Eliza Miller

A break-in occurred on the first-floor of Upper-Class Complex (UCC) Hughes where authorities arrested a suspect on the roof of the dorm. 

On Tuesday, March 1, at 3 in the morning, Eliza Miller was asleep in bed when she woke up and backed into her sink. Shortly after, two large rocks flew through her window where the man then crawled through the frame and onto the glass covered bed Miller was just in. 

Miller had cuts from the broken glass on her forehead and arms.

Once the intruder was in her dorm, Miller ran into the hall of her dormitory and screamed for help from other UCC residents. No one came out to assist. According to Miller, the suspect followed her into the hallway and gestured to hit her, but ended up leaving her alone after this. 

He made his way to the third floor of UCC and proceeded to bang and try to open residents’ doors.

Miller called University Police Services (UPD) at 3:17 a.m. and waited for them to arrive in her vandalized room. 

Jenna Takara, a residential assistant who stays on the third floor of UCC, left her room to speak to the intruder with hopes to deescalate the situation. After failed attempts, the intruder went to the roof of the second floor of UCC’s and proceeded to scream and yell. 

UPD arrived in less than 10 minutes and arrested the suspect on the roof at 3:39 a.m. According to Tod Miller, assistant UPD chief, the intruder was transported to the Clark County Detention Center and booked on multiple charges including home invasion. 

A rock near Eliza Miller’s room that was broken-in at UCC Hughes. Photo by Jimmy Romo

The Backlash

Following the break-in, Tem Sedgwick, assistant director of residential life, sent an email to UCC residents at 10:52 a.m. In the email, Sedgwick addressed the break-in as no “theft of property or harm to any resident” and that “there was no ongoing threat.” Sedgwick in the email also highlighted steps residents can take for future break-ins and outlined steps Housing and Residential Life (HRL) has taken to protect residents for the academic year. 

Since Sedwcik’s email was sent, Residence Hall Association (RHA), Miller, and other students have scrutinized the handling of the break-in. Students believe HRL has no respect for student mental health or safety.

Miller and students across campus have rallied to express their concerns at a (RHA) meeting held March 3 over Webex. The meeting went from 7:07 p.m. to 9:47 p.m. with over 120 in attendance where students demanded in a letter addressed to HRL, the administration, UPD, and CSUN student government, members of RHA outlined the installation of shatterproof glass windows by the upcoming fall semester, professionally  trained security by UPD, HRL make the commitment to transparency, a formal apology from Tem Sedgwick, and Theo Nichols. 

Miller emotionally spoke out about her experience and voiced her concerns in the meeting.

“I was very offended by Tem’s email as it invalidated my experience and feelings,” Miller said. “I was three to four inches away from getting my face smashed in. If it wasn’t for my instincts and body telling me to get up I could have died or been seriously injured to the point that I was bed-ridden in the hospital. It was so scary, being woken up, and the first thing you see is a man staring at you through your window.”

During her public comment, Miller also addressed the first-floor residents of UCC. “I also want to address the residents. I was screaming and yelling for help in my room as well as running outside of my door and no one came to help me. It’s just ridiculous to me because the RA Jenna told me that she heard my scream all the way from the third floor.”

Students took to public comment to express their frustration with the break-in.

“Time and time again, housing has shown that it is not proactive or student first,” resident Darian Fluker said. “This isn’t the way that we should be navigating our experiences as students here on campus, especially in terms of safety.”

The side of the building where the second floor roof is located at UCC Hughes. Photo by Jimmy Romo

A Response 

At the time of writing this article, Associate Vice President for Student Life, Renee Watson, is the first to respond publicly to the letter. 

“We are deeply concerned by the recent break-in at the Hughes Residence Hall that involved a student in their room and regrettably impacted the UNLV residential area. We are taking immediate steps to assess and enhance security so that our students feel safe and supported while residing on campus. Housing and Residential Life staff, University Police Services, and the Associate Vice President for Student Life met with the Residence Hall Student Association on March 3, 2022, to hear student concerns.”

Additionally, window replacements, mental health support from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), additional staff training to the housing staff, and a commitment to continued dialogue with students are to come.

Since the Thursday RHA meeting, no one has reached out to Miller personally regarding her concerns. 

“The fact that no one reached out to me through email until I and the RHA said something is just so upsetting,” Miller said. “They only reached out to me after we brought attention to it to assign me to the new room, but that room is in really bad condition so I am currently staying in my old room. It’s always the bare minimum.”

Miller asks “what will it take for the university to actually step up? Will it be when a student is brutally murdered in front of a staff member’s eyes?”

The exterior of UCC Hughes where Eliza Miller’s dorm was broken into. Photo by Jimmy Romo

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