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Friday, April 19, 2024

Art Building intruder released from jail, students told to report suspicious activity

Nicholas Chavez ordered to stay away from campus for three years following arrest

Nicholas Chavez, the transient individual who had been living in the Art Building and occupying the office of a professor on sabbatical without permission, was released from jail yesterday after his arrest on Feb. 21. Chavez has been issued a three-year order to stay away from the campus, according to Kate Shasky, the accreditation manager for the UC Davis Police Department (UCDPD).

“He will be on probation for three years and as a condition of his probation he has a stay away order prohibiting him from being on the UC Davis Campus,” Shasky said. “If Mr. [Chavez] is contacted on campus he is subject to arrest for violating his probation.

Chavez is allegedly responsible for committing a string of crimes that took place this year in the Art Building. He allegedly sexually assaulted fourth-year art studio major Stephanie Lee while she was in the building last Fall Quarter, sexually harassed a second student, damaged and vandalized university property and stole students’ art supplies.

After a student reported damage to an office door in the Art Building at 4 a.m. on Feb. 21, police found Chavez asleep inside. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the Yolo County jail.

Chavez was released from jail yesterday. Students from the Art and Art History and Design Departments were made aware of his release in an email sent by Karen Ostergard, the chief administrative officer for the Department of Art and Art History.

In the email, which was obtained by The California Aggie, Ostergard informed students of the three-year stay away order issued to Chavez.

“It is our hope that he will abide by that order, but if anyone sees him (or anything suspicious), please call the campus police […] 752-1727 in a non-emergency and 911 in an emergency,” Ostergard wrote, reminding students not to prop open exterior doors at night and lock up spaces when exiting the Art Building.

Both Ostergard and Shasky told The Aggie that UCDPD has been proactive in getting information out and implementing additional security measures, including repairing broken windows, doors and door locks. UCDPD has been conducting extra patrols after dark and there are plans to install audible alarms in the building.

At a town hall that took place on Feb. 13 to address concerns regarding Chavez’s presence in the building before his arrest, students expressed concerns and frustration over the lack of information being shared with them. Following his release from jail yesterday, Ostergard said there will be “increased communication on the topic,” including additional postings in and around the Art Building, “so everyone can be more informed.”

Written by: Hannah Holzer — campus@theaggie.org



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