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Thief in Goodman Hall: A Redemption Story?

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On September 17th, multiple game controllers were stolen from half a dozen rooms in Goodman Hall. The following day, the GroupMe was set abuzz when one student claimed to have been robbed, warning residents to lock their doors, and others quickly chimed in with similar stories. The RA, Walter Johnson, immediately called a meeting in the courtyard and extended a warm invitation to the thief to visit him in his room— if they dared.

Johnson later told me, “It hurts me as an RA because I’ve been an RA for about four or five years now, and I take pride in not only my residents, but the residence life. I think people forget that; we’re not just in charge of the residents or the residence hall, we’re in charge of residence life. I take that personally because we’re all on the same level. I don’t want any of my residents to feel like I’m above them because we’re going through the same thing, so if you’re taking from them, you’re also taking from me. They’re hurt, and I’m hurting for them, so now we have an issue because I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure my residents have what they need. They get what they want. They deserve it.”

Johnson went through the proper channels by notifying security and speaking with student life, and the situation seemed settled. However, the next day one student sent a public message to the thief in the GroupMe that they had turned on their game system from the stolen controller. Others realized that the culprit must live in the building due to bluetooth’s limited range, and in the words of Johnson, “…on my soul, we coming for your ass.”  These words may have had a strong impact because that night, all but two controllers were left on doorsteps, returned to their rightful owners.

Even though this ordeal only lasted three days, Johnson pointed out that there were lingering effects: “You want to have trust in your residence hall, and you want to have a good environment, and a lot of times we have individuals who spoil that. It’s a duty for me to be able to enforce that kind of environment. I feel like I’m not doing my job if I’m not able to put trust in a close-knit environment like a residence hall. It’s like we have one bad apple on the tree, the whole tree is gone.” He has since made efforts to put trust back into the community by organizing “Sunday Sundaes” and occasionally sending a Millsaps-themed trivia question in the GroupMe with prizes for the first correct answer.