|Caller harasses female students
By Greg Walters and Noah Pollaczek
With a few variations, Michaels technique almost always
works like this: he calls a number in Oberlin at random usually a dorm room, although sometimes
he calls an off campus student residence. If a female voice answers, he says, Well hello,
He explains that he was given this number at a party, usually by someone named Kathy Davis.
There is no one presently enrolled in Oberlin by that name.
After a couple words, you realize that he wants to know about you, not Kathy,
and it gets creepy, one first-year, who asked that her name not be used, said.
In the very first conversation, he said, Well, if Kathys not there, how are you?
another student reported. And then, within five minutes of my telling him that Kathy wasnt
there, he was asking me, What are you wearing?
Oberlin Safety and Security reported they have no file on Michael who often
claims to be a student at Case Western Law School and they have no idea how many women at
Oberlin he has called.
But the Review was able to confirm that Michael has contacted at least ten different
Oberlin College students, and an unconfirmed two or three dozen more.
Some of those interviewed for this article reported that Michael has called them as
many as five or six times in the course of this year.
The mysterious caller may also have begun to take a more direct approach.
On Thursday, Feb. 27, Safety and Security received a complaint that a young man in his late twenties
had approached a female Oberlin College student on her way home through town.
According to the official Security report, The student described the male as having approached
her and called her by the name of Kathy. When he realized that she was not Kathy, he began asking
more information about the student.
He then tried to strike up a conversation, which made her feel uncomfortable. Then he asked
to be let into the residence hall, because he had connections in the building. The student let
him in, excused herself from the scene, and later called Security.
For now, though, such personal contact exists only in an isolated report. Michael has
mainly kept to the telephone.
Another first-year, who asked not to be identified, told of how Michael called repeatedly,
even after she threatened to call Security.
He called and asked for Kathy Davis, she said. I guess he always uses that name.
Then he started talking and he just wouldnt shut up, she continued.
He actually sounds like a nice person, if youve only talked to him once, she
But he called at least five times, last semester, she said.
Sometimes, when she wasnt in, he tried to start a conversation with her roommate instead.
Michael also attempted to arrange a meeting in town with the student, her roommate
or her friends.
He said he could meet me and my friend anywhere Tappan square, or wherever,
the first-year said. That was creepy too. He said he could meet us in the Java Zone.
Although Michael said he went to Case Western, the student devised a test.
I had this friend over once, and he called, and he talked to her. She convinced him to send
her an email. It was from a Yahoo address or something random like that, not from Case Western.
We tracked it, and it turned out it was from North Olmstead, she said.
Eventually, this student decided shed had enough.
I told him that we would tell Security if he called again. And then he didnt call for
a long time. But then he called again.
Since then, she simply hangs up on him.
Hes a real jerk, she said.
And although neither the administration nor Safety and Security said they were aware of Michael,
they said that these practices are nothing new.
There are very often harassing phone callers to women on campus, Dean of Students Peter
Goldsmith said. Im sorry to say this goes on a lot. I expect its an ongoing problem
on any campus. I think mostly we have to respond to it when we hear about it. We try very hard
to control the distribution of the Fussers.
Security reported they had received only two reports of harassing phone calls over the past two
months, and had never heard of Michael.
We have not received any reports directly to our department concerning that specific type
of info, Assistant Director of Safety and Security Marjorie Burton said, adding that students
should report any suspiscious or disturbing phone calls to College authorities.
Telephone harassment is a violation of law: both local police and the phone company can prosecute,
she said. We would highly encourage anyone who receives a harassing phone call to contact
us and make an initial report
.If this is a common thing, we want to hear from the students.