Saturday night was one of the big parties that happens from time to time on Caltech's campus. In fact it was so big than some alumni came back for it. Unfortunately, one of the alumni got in a bit of trouble.
This particular alum wanted to save a few bucks, so he asked if he could stay as a guest. I told him that it would be no problem, and after the party he crashed on one of our couches. Later that night, two security guards woke him up and demanded that he leave. He explained his presence there as an alum, gave my name as a reference, and presented his old school ID as proof that he was, in fact, an alum. They confiscated his ID, refused to call me, and accused him of having squatted there for three weeks. Since his flight had only been the day before, this was obviously not true, but when he tried to show them his ticket information on his phone, they ignored him. According to them, staying as a guest would only be permitted with a signed note from the head of campus housing. They escorted him outside to the curb, where they were met by another security guard in a gray sedan. The security guards informed the alum that if he was seen on campus again, he would be arrested!
Luckily, he had the number of another alum who was staying nearby, so he had a place to stay for the night. However, not every visitor is so lucky.
The next day, when informed of this, I immediately wrote an irate email to the head of campus housing. Half an hour later, I had him on the phone and was explaining what had happened. He had no knowledge of the events, or of any policy requiring a signed note. He apologized to the alum via phone and intends for it not to happen again.
So it appears that campus security had gotten ahead of themselves. How chilling. This time, it was a mild inconvenience for an alum who could deal with it, but what about the future? Will they harass prospective students?