Police arrested a 22-year-old undergraduate outside Pforzheimer House Wednesday evening after he reportedly failed to show proper student identification and cursed at and physically fought off police officers, witnesses said yesterday.
Uchenna Aguoji ’05-’06 was escorted out of the House’s Jordan Hall in handcuffs and charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct at about 9 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).
“We received a call from a tutor who had confronted Mr. Aguoji and asked why he was in the building,” said HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano. “The tutor was not comfortable with the answers that he received and the tutor then called us to report a person acting suspiciously.”
Police approached Aguoji in a television lounge on the third floor of Jordan South, Catalano said, and asked him whether he was a student and whether he had identification.
According to Catalano, Aguoji replied, “No, I’m just going to watch the game.”
“The officer repeatedly asked the individual for identification,” Catalano said. “After each request, the individual was verbally abusive and failed to provide any additional information on his reason for being in the dorm.”
After Aguoji refused to leave the premises per police request, the responding officers attempted to place him under arrest. It took several minutes—and four officers—to subdue him, Catalano said.
“There were four cops that went in after this dude,” said Michael A. King ’06, a Pforzheimer resident, who witnessed the scuffle. “There was a bunch of people there. He was yelling. He was like, ‘Give me back my glasses and my hat, bitch.’ They were, like, holding him down—he didn’t go willingly.”
Aguoji, who also goes by “G.W.,” had taken a year off from school to pursue acting possibilities in Los Angeles, according to several students in Pforzheimer. A group on facebook.com called “Bring Back G.W.” supported the idea of Aguoji returning to campus.
But Pforzheimer House Administrator Sue Watts confirmed yesterday that Aguoji is currently registered as a student living in Pforzheimer—even though charges against him include trespassing.
“Because he failed to identify himself as a student or produce a Harvard I.D.,” Catalano said, “we operated under the premise that he was not connected with the University and therefore had no right to be in the building.”
Chris B. Hougland ’06, one of Aguoji’s friends, said the timing of Aguoji’s outburst was bizarre because Hougland had just expressed concern for his friend’s well-being.
“It seemed like he was not really caring about consequences,” Hougland said. “He had a job for a few weeks but he was fired and he didn’t really care. He wasn’t really going to his classes. It just seemed like things were not well in order for him.”
Hougland said that he investigated Aguoji’s current whereabouts yesterday without success.
“He’s not a belligerent guy at all,” he said.
Many students in the House—and even on his floor—said they were surprised that they had not encountered Aguoji more often, although some had seen him meandering the halls and asking others to swipe him into the building.
“He’s around the building a lot in a bathrobe,” said Mayra C. Suarez ’06, a resident who witnessed part of the arrest. “I’ve seen him around a lot. [Others have] seen him in libraries trying to get in and stuff like that.”
J. Luigi Naguit ’06 said the tussle between Aguoji and the officers resulted in a broken plant holder and table.
House Co-Masters James J. and M. Suzanne McCarthy did not return requests for comment yesterday.
And Watts said, “I don’t know anything about an arrest.”
Catalano confirmed that Aguoji, as of Wednesday, was told to stay off campus. The duration of this warning, he said, is a decision that ultimately lies with the College Dean’s Office.
—Staff writer Robin M. Peguero can be reached at email@example.com.