Vendor wanders campus lacking license

The English department had an unexpected visitor last Monday morning. At 10:30 a.m., a man entered the English office, Baker Hall 260, carrying a box of framed paintings. He carried the box throughout the office, offering to sell staff members the painting of their choice.

The man was a picture salesman lacking a license, and selling Van Gogh prints with new frames.

“He greeted us with ‘hey ladies,’ and proceeded to walk into our office and open his box of photos,” said Kelly Delaney, a master’s student and graduate coordinator for the English department.

The actor was wearing denim jeans, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap, Delaney said.

“He looked just like a Carnegie Mellon student,” she said.

While Delaney went to class, undergraduate coordinator Eyona Bivins showed interest in the prints.

“He seemed to be out of breath,” said Bivins, “and he kept talking about the framing.”

When Bivins told the man she did not want the prints, he left her office and went into another.

“He greeted me by name and claimed to know me,” said Margaret Kinsky, the department business manager, “but I think he just looked at my nameplate outside my office.”

David Kaufer, head and professor in the English department, bought some of the prints.

“I did not think for a moment that they were real,” said Kaufer. “I just liked the prints and the frames. I thought they would be nice to buy for one of my family members.”

Upon selling the prints to Kaufer, the man left the English office and went to the Posner Center, home to the Tepper School of Business. There, a female staff member found the man suspicious and phoned University Police, who apprehended the man.

Thanks to evidence from eyewitnesses in the Posner Center and Baker Hall, police charged the man with defiant trespassing and released him.

Police did not reveal the actor’s name.

“The biggest issue was that the man did not have a vendor’s license for selling within university boundaries,” said Lieutenant John Race.

If the man had obtained a license, there would have been no charges, Race said.

However, that a man not affiliated with the Carnegie Mellon could walk into two university buildings without being stopped worried some students.

“I don’t really like that such a possibility exists,” said Lauren Taglieri, a sophomore information systems major. “I’d like to think that in some way, our campus could be a little bit safer.”

However, University Police insisted that the security issue is under control.

“No one was harmed in the incident. Yes, there was no permit and the man was wandering through buildings. However, this was reported; this really was a non-incident,” Race said.

But the incident made some students uneasy about campus security procedures.

“Even though he didn’t harm anyone, I still don’t like that he was allowed to go around campus and into our buildings,” said Lydia Remington, a sophomore public policy and management major. “If he could go into the buildings, there could be nothing then to stop harmful people from doing the same.”

However, according to the 2007 Annual Campus Security Report, Carnegie Mellon’s crime rating of 33.4 for 2006 placed it among the nation’s safest urban universities.

The FBI rating is a value measuring the frequency of violent criminal offenses per 100,000 people.

To put this number into context, Hyde Park, home to the University of Chicago, had a crime rate of 693 in 2006; schools situated in more rural areas, such as Alabama State University and Texas Southern University had rates of 1.9 and 11.83 last year, respectively.