Word has been circulating around campus that a person in a ski mask ran into Kalmanovitz Hall last Wednesday afternoon. Some students have speculated that it was a USF student participating in a sociology experiment for class. Students were not able to trace the rumour back to a particular source, nor did they admit to having any evidence behind the claims.
A female faculty member did make a call to the Department of Public Safety, last Wednesday, Oct. 2 shortly after 1 p.m., to report an unidentified male running through the main entrance of Kalmanovitz in a ski mask. Senior English major Sarah Rewers, who was working the Public Safety front desk at the time, said she transferred the call to Public Safety’s dispatch services.
Rewers has heard no further reports of strange activity on campus, since the faculty phone call.
Dan Lawson, director of the department of public safety, confirmed that the department had received one or two calls from faculty describing a masked male entering the building, though he does not believe the person posed a threat to campus.
“On our video cameras we could see someone running in [the building] and it looked like they were wearing a hood on,” he said. “We sometimes get report of unusual occurrences but that doesn’t suggest that it will lead to violence or pose as a threat.”
None of the administrators in the theology, philosophy, or media studies departments — all located on the first floor of Kalmanovitz — saw anything suspicious that afternoon.
Claire Winter, a junior philosophy major, works in the philosophy department front office. She said she had not heard anything about the rumored masked male, and was unaware of the situation. A faculty member in the office recalled seeing a public safety officer walk by her that afternoon, though she did not think it strange or unusual.
Media Studies Program Assistant, Lydia B. Fedulow, said she heard that a public safety officer was patrolling Kalmanovitz that day in pursuit of a person who had walked into the building, though she did not see anything suspicious herself.
Sociology professors in Kalmanovitz responded to the speculation that the person was a USF student performing a sociology experiment. Such experiments are a common assignment in introductory classes, and usually involve doing something that goes against social norms.
“That would be really stupid,” said one female faculty, referring to the possibility that the mask was part of a social experiment.
A professor of Intro to Sociology who had just assigned his class a sociology experiment flipped through his students’ papers to see what they reported on. “That would be exactly what I told them not to do,” he said, looking through. While there were experiments about facing the back wall in a crowded elevator and making in-depth conversation between bathroom stalls, there was no mention of ski masks or hoods. “Not one of my students,” said the professor.
Lawson notes that he did see a male wearing a Lucha Libre mask — the colorful and decorative masks that are used in Mexican wrestling — on campus a few days prior to the phone calls. Though he does not know if it is the same person, he did say the mask could have been a prank. “The kid I saw looked like a student. He obviously didn’t look like a threat.”