ARC’s campus peephole problem


Matthew Wilke

Sgt. Mike Olson of the Los Rios Police Department said that peepholes have been a reoccurring problem on American River College campus for the last 15 years. The largest peephole can be found in the men's bathroom in the science department.

Matthew Wilke and Matthew Wilke

An earlier version of this story falsely stated that Sgt. Mike Olson of the Los Rios Police Department said sexual acts have occurred in the American River College restrooms. In fact, this was said by Corporal Alex Conroy. In addition, a quote from a student on campus has been removed, because it was deemed irrelevant to the story. 

A former Current staff member removed a quote from this story that they said was irrelevant to the story but it was pulled for its offencisve material and pulling the quote with dishonest intent has hurt the credibility of the Current. 

Imagine sitting in the bathroom stall on campus. As you look over, you notice an eye peering through a small, roughly carved-out hole invading your privacy.

For almost two decades, this has been a possibility on campus.

A series of peepholes, drilled out holes that people can see through, have been made in at least three of the men’s bathrooms at ARC’s main campus.

The largest peephole can be found in the science department men’s bathroom, and smaller holes can be found in the liberal arts breezeway and Davies Hall.

Corporal Alex Conroy of the Los Rios Police Department said the bathrooms are active spots for people to meet up to engage in sexual activities with one another.

“Sex happens on campus. Mostly of it is consensual that has come up to our attention,” said Conroy. “If people don’t report it, we don’t have a crime.”

Maria Arambula, a custodian, said that the peepholes have always been an issue on campus in the 19 years of her working at the school.

Said Los Rios Police Sgt. Mike Olson: “We will prosecute anytime that we can apprehend someone, but it is exceedingly difficult to catch someone in the act of using those or creating them.

“We have to rely on a report from a person who using the bathroom, or someone who seen them taking a drill or something like thing, or seen them engage either of vandalism or other activities considered to be illegal,’ .

That difficulty is partly due to the private nature of bathrooms, where cameras are not permitted for obvious reasons. As far as the actual procedures with removing or fixing peepholes, the difficulties appear budgetary.

Preston Harris, head of maintenance department, said that the department has only been able to manage the problem so far by covering up the holes with metal sheets screwed onto the stalls.

Harris said that “(the) only thing we can do is cover them up and make it more difficult, it’ll go away for a while.”

The easiest solution would most likely be installing drill-proof metal stalls, instead of the current wood. But that would cost construction time and funding, which are difficult to get approved.

“It is a social issue rather than a maintenance problem,” Harris said.

Culinary arts students Mtayari Umoja said, “I don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle. I have a serious problem with a dude looking at me.”