The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Continued Laundry Disappearance in Campus Residence Hall Prompts Investigation

Mark DiOrio

Colgate University students have reported multiple instances of personal items disappearing from the laundry facilities in an on-campus residence hall, beginning in the Fall 2023 semester. The reports, which were initially directed to Campus Safety prior to a student contacting the Hamilton Police Department (HPD or Hamilton PD) directly, have prompted an investigation.

Hamilton Police Chief Matt Janczuk of the Hamilton PD confirmed to the Maroon-News that there is currently an investigation underway. The Hamilton PD was notified of the situation in November once a student contacted them directly. Prior to this, the Hamilton PD was not involved in the Campus Safety investigation in response to any previous reports that had been submitted to Campus Safety.

Chief Janczuk confirmed the location of the reported incidents to be Burke Hall, an on-campus residence hall that primarily houses underclassmen. He also verified that there have been multiple incidents of missing laundry reported by multiple student victims to Campus Safety. The police report has not been released at this time as the investigation is ongoing.

Director of Campus Safety Terri Stewart told the Maroon-News that her ability to comment on the situation was limited due to the ongoing nature of the Hamilton PD’s investigation.

“This is HPD’s investigation, and I am therefore not positioned to respond,” Stewart wrote in an email response to the Maroon-News’ request for comment

Stewart confirmed that missing laundry has been reported to both Campus Safety and the Hamilton Police Department.

Sophomore Flora Lingafelter, a resident of Burke Hall who has been affected by the situation, shared that several items in her laundry have gone missing since the middle of last semester. Lingafelter began to notice that some of her clothes were missing when she went to the laundry room to retrieve them from the dryer. At first, Lingafelter noticed the absence of small items from her laundry but began to become concerned following the loss of larger items of greater monetary value. Lingafelter expressed her frustration surrounding the ongoing situation.

“It’s just a really tricky situation because there wasn’t really a solution, except for sitting in the laundry room whilst your clothes were being washed or dried, which obviously is like an hour and a half cycle and no one wanted to do that,” Lingafelter said. 

Lingafelter first contacted Campus Safety via email on Oct. 24 to report that two pairs of jeans and two shirts were missing from her possession after completing two loads of laundry and one drying cycle. She reached out to Campus Safety again on Nov. 16 and Dec. 11 to report several additional missing items, including a sweatshirt, another shirt, a pair of pajamas and a pair of boots. The boots, which disappeared only days before Lingafelter was set to depart campus for winter break, had been placed directly outside her dorm room door for a few hours to dry from the snow at the time of disappearance. The boots were later discovered by Lingafelter’s Community Leader (CL) on a non-residential floor in Burke Hall upon return to campus for the Spring semester. Lingafelter shared that she has not located any of her other missing belongings at this time, which she estimates to amount to over $300 worth of clothing.

Prior to winter break, Lingafelter voiced her concerns to her CL and other residents of Burke Hall. Lingafelter noted that after raising awareness of the issue amongst the residents in her building, other students confirmed similar experiences with the loss of personal items.

Area Director of Residential Life Kim Cataldo-Murray sent an email to the residents of Brown Commons on Oct. 31 to notify students of the concern.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve received reports from your CLs that many of you have had personal items taken from the laundry facilities,” Cataldo-Murray wrote. “Residential Life and Campus Safety are disheartened to hear this, and are beginning investigations into the matter.”

The email proceeded to share four tips for ensuring the security of belongings in the laundry facilities throughout the Commons, including staying with one’s laundry throughout the entire duration of the wash and dry cycles or setting a timer to come back to the laundry room before the load finishes if staying there is not an option. Other advice included avoiding switching loads that are not one’s own — so as to prevent items from getting mixed between different loads — and submitting an immediate report to Campus Safety in the event of missing items.

Cataldo-Murray directed students to contact Campus Safety directly if they have had items go missing while doing laundry or have information on who may be involved in the situation.

The Maroon-News received no comment from Cataldo-Murray following an inquiry, as the University is unable to comment given the ongoing investigation.

Regarding the current measures in place to ensure security of residents’ personal items, both Stewart and Lingafelter commented on the absence of security cameras in the laundry room. 

“I think putting [security] cameras in the laundry room would have been a very quick fix for the problem,” Lingafelter said. “But that just wasn’t possible because it breaches people’s privacy.”

Director Stewart confirmed the absence of security cameras from residential building laundry rooms on campus and noted that it is not the intent of Campus Safety to implement further surveillance through such measures.

“There are currently none [security cameras] in place, and we have no plan to move forward with them at this time,” Stewart said.

Lingafelter also spoke of her experience working with Campus Safety throughout the Fall semester and noted officers’ support and concern regarding the situation, as well as their general responsiveness and accountability for student safety at Colgate.

“I definitely feel like [Campus Safety has] been very concerned about the situation, and I’d say they’ve really done all they can,” Lingafelter said. “I think apart from this, I’ve never had any safety concerns being up the hill, so I think Campus Safety is a really good team that does a really good job.”

Chief Janczuk noted that if there are any other victims who have not yet reported an incident at this time, they should immediately notify either the Campus Safety Department or the Hamilton PD, who can be reached at 315-228-7333 and 315-824-3311, respectively.

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About the Contributors
Jesse Harris, Editor-In-Chief
Jesse Harris is a senior from Chappaqua, NY concentrating in English and psychology with a creative writing emphasis. She has previously served as Multimedia Manager, Commentary Editor, Assistant Commentary Editor and as a staff writer. On campus, Jesse is a Presidential Ambassador, President of the Women's Club Basketball team, and is a member of a Greek letter organization.
Maya Karkhanis, Editor-In-Chief
Maya Karkhanis is a senior from Hillsborough, NJ concentrating in international relations, religion, and Asian studies. She has previously served as an Arts & Features Editor, Arts & Features Assistant Editor, and as a staff writer. On campus, Maya is a member of a Greek letter organization and runs Colgate’s chapter of the John Quincy Adams Society, a foreign policy discussion group.

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