You’re not in Kansas anymore.

There have been stalkers, rapists and criminals walking around our lovely little campus.

Last year the USM Police reported two sexual assaults on or near campus, three more “confidential reports” where the victim didn’t want to press charges.

And USM’s Manager of Sexual Assault Programs Jim Daniels estimates maybe 20 percent of sexual assaults ever get reported.

There are assaults. Hate crimes. And countless thefts.

Am I trying to scare you? Do I want you to hide away in your dorms praying you’re not next? No.

But how about a little common sense.

Over the summer there were two incidents in which a suspicious person somehow got into a USM dorm (See “Warning” page 1). In one of them, somebody got into a women’s locker room while high school girls were showering.

The man left after being discovered, but I’m sure the University and the women involved are counting their blessings that nothing else happened.

No one seems to know how the men got into the dorms. USM Police Chief Lisa Beecher said someone might have held a door open for them.

Who hasn’t held a door open for somebody? There’s a little old lady in back of you as you’re walking into the bank. You hold the door open without thinking. It’s a nice thing to do.

But it’s time students realize that the person behind them as they’re walking into their dorm might not be a little old lady. It might be a former stalker with a history of concealed weapons (who harassed over a dozen women last year) or a pervert trying to watch high school girls in the shower.

It happens. Even in Maine.

These people are attracted to college campuses. Where else can you find thousands of na?ve beautiful people with invincibility complexes? It’s almost too easy.

So why don’t you do yourself AND the hundreds of kids in your dorm a favor. Close the door behind you. If there’s somebody there show some courage and close it anyway.

This is the real world where bad things happen.

Don’t leave your bag at the table while you go to the bathroom. Don’t walk around alone late at night. Carry mace.

You may come from a small town where all this sounds crazy. I have an idea. Why don’t you go talk to the USM student who was slashed in the face last year after a crazy masked man followed her to her Portland apartment.

I bet she didn’t think she’d ever need mace.

But according to police, without it, she might not have survived.


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