An incident involving a man watching obscene material on a Paley Library computer turned violent earlier this month, prompting an investigation by Temple and Philadelphia police and renewed calls for building security.
William Dixon, a 52-year-old library guest, was charged with disorderly conduct after two Paley Library workers said he accosted them when confronted about viewing the obscene material.
Chris Denison, the student worker on shift at the time of the incident, said he approached Dixon while he was watching material bordering on pornography in which women were posing in scandalous ways in bikinis. “I never thought he would react the way he did,” Denison said. “He stood up, got toe-to-toe with me and he told me ‘Boy, I’ll knock your a– out right now.’”
Denison said Dixon proceeded to charge at him, landing a punch under his right eye. Temple Police were then called after an attempt to reach security had previously been made by pressing the library’s panic button. Nick Reynolds, a Paley supervisor, had been one of the library staff members involved when the incident occurred.
“I started waving the police down and the guy turned around and saw me … and ran across 13th Street and hit me once,” Reynolds said.
After campus police arrived, Dixon was tazed, handcuffed and taken down to the campus police station, said Charlie Leone, acting executive director of Campus Safety Services.
Both Denison and Reynolds sustained minor injuries and with no video cameras capturing the event or police present to witness the incident in the library, Dixon was released that day charged with disorderly conduct and banned from Temple’s campus, Leone said.
“It didn’t rise to an aggravated assault level and it was more of a simple assault,” Leone said.
After being examined by a doctor, Reynolds was later found to have sustained a minor concussion which prompted an aggravated assault charge and allowed campus police and the Philadelphia Police Department to file a warrant for Dixon that is awaiting approval. Once the warrant is approved Dixon will have his disorderly conduct charged removed and arrested for assault charges, Leone said.
Questions have been raised by library staff about whether campus police should increase its security presence around Main Campus to further prevent incidents. This past October, an 81-year-old professor was assaulted and robbed in Anderson Hall.
“There’s still some concerns that I have just because I’ve seen people gain access to the building through the Tuttleman entrance without showing their ID,” Reynolds said. “One individual in particular who had been previously banned had made it into the library after the incident and he actually came into the staff desk and wanted to know why he couldn’t use the computer.”
Preliminary talks are being held by library leadership in the library’s task force that was created in November to help increase security measures. Cameras and swipe card controls at entry points may be implemented by Fall 2014, said Joseph Lucia, dean of university libraries, and Leone, both members of the library’s task force.
When asked whether campus police would be providing extra security officers in Tuttleman and the Paley Library Leone said, “I’m trying to figure out if we added more security what would we do and where would they go.”
Temple police has between 10 and 12 security officers patrolling Main Campus at all times. Two security guards are within Tuttleman and Paley Library with additional outside security groups like the Lunch Relief Rovers, a separate police officer and AlliedBarton coming in three or four times throughout their eight-hour tour periods.
Sarai Flores can be reached at email@example.com.