Visitor at SJSU Prompts Police to Call for Campus to Report Concerning Behavior

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Second-year SJSU student Alina Ta said she was at the campus' Student Union Wednesday evening studying when a man came up to her and asked her a bunch of questions that made her feel uncomfortable.

"I tried to tell him, please try to find another student try to find someone else, stop bothering me," Ta recalled, saying the man continued asking her questions, then left after around 10 minutes.

About an hour later she said this man returned and she yet again told him she was trying to study and didn't want to talk. He eventually left her alone and Ta said she then went to the bowling alley downstairs and hid while she participated in her virtual class.

“After that, I wasn’t able to pay attention to whatever happened during class and 30 minutes after that I just spent it panicking,” she recalled.

San Jose State University Police say they actually got several calls Wednesday about that same man. They say he is not a student and is not affiliated with the university.

Captain Frank Belcastro of San Jose State University Police explained that his department got several calls on Wednesday throughout the day about a man on campus who had been bothering students and asking them unwanted questions.

"On the third call, our officers were able to locate an individual who they interviewed during the interview they were able to determine that the suspect --or the individual was undergoing a mental health crisis," Belcastro said.

Belcastro said that officers were able to connect this man with professionals who can evaluate and help him.

This incident has prompted campus police to double down on calls to students and staff to notify them about any concerning behavior. Belcastro noted that the university has an open campus, which means anyone can access spots like the student union if they choose.

"We do have to be cognizant that we want an environment that’s conducive to learning and conducive to the free exchange of ideas," Belcastro said."So we’re not here to block people in, but certainly, if there’s criminal behavior or acting in a way that endangers our population, we need to know about it."

Belcastro clarified that he wants the SJSU community to report behavior that causes concern, not concerns about the way someone might look.

If other students go through an experience like Ta did, Belcastro recommends trying to get out of the area and then contacting university police immediately. He also recommends that campus community members program the campus police phone number into their "favorites" on their phone 408-924-2222 and make use of the blue light phones around campus to contact police.

Belcastro added that his department is working to add a "psychological emergency response team" with trained clinicians to help them better respond to incidents involving mental health crises.

“I think one of the greatest parts of San Jose state is that it is public,” Ta noted, adding that she still loves the university. She hopes the incident she went through sparks a campus-wide conversation about how to make students like her feel safe while also being thoughtful to community members who pass through.

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