His name is Big Red. His trade is entertainer, comedian, politician, and current International Bear Wrestling Champ. He has become so widely known that an APU Facebook fan page was created in his name. According to the page, “Big Red has strived all his life to be larger than life.” Big Red’s real name is Adam Walls, senior history major who prefers living life on the wild side.
He has committed his time here at APU to being a dedicated APU football fan as well a key attendee at all the latest APU events. He was last seen running on the field in celebration after the most recent APU homecoming game. If one might wonder where they may locate Big Red, just simply visit his Facebook page which gives the latest details about what is happening with Big Red and APU. The most recent happening with Big Red and APU also involved the Azusa Police.
It was a normal afternoon on the third of October when Walls grew tired of the library. Around three o’clock he made the decision to head home to his apartment in Alosta Place from Marshburn Library. His usual shortcut through Engstrom lot seemed all but uneventful until Campus Safety and three Azusa police officers suddenly surrounded him. The recent transfer from Shepherd University in West Virginia became very confused by the sudden predicament that he was in.
“The police asked me to sit down on the curb, put my hands behind my back and show them identification,” Walls said.
According to Walls, he had been identified as a magazine seller who was harassing female students on campus.
“I had books, but I was definitely not selling them and they were not magazines,” Walls said.
Azusa police continued to insist that Wall in fact did match the physical description of the harasser. After approximately thirty minutes of investigation, Walls was released.
“I was not only profiled, but I also felt discriminated against,” Walls said.
According to Campus Safety, this type of situation is taken very seriously.
“We cannot assume that a person wearing clothes with the APU logo is a student here at the university,” Campus Safety Chief Sean D. Kennedy said.
Campus Safety procedure regarding this type of incident, is to send an officer to the location of the caller to ensure her safety and investigate. A secondary officer will be dispatched to the area of the alleged harasser. After further investigation, the Azusa Police Department will be notified if their assistance is needed, since the university is within their jurisdiction.
Although Deputy Chief Terry Meyer and Chief Sean Kennedy of Campus Safety could not give specifics regarding Big Red’s obscure detainment, they did emphasize that no matter how grave or small any complaint called into Campus Safety is, each situation is taken very seriously to ensure the safety of the APU community.
Chief Kennedy meets with Chief Sam Gonzalez of the Azusa police department once a month, if not more, to discuss any concerns or information involving the APU community. The Azusa Police Department patrol officers monitor Campus Safety’s radio frequency, meaning in cases such as Big Red’s, if an Azusa police officer is in the area and hears the call on the radio, the officer can directly respond to the location without first being notified by Campus Safety.
Although Campus Safety and the Azusa police department were strictly doing their job of responding to a call after a complaint, Big Red sees it differently.
“I am a student here, as well. I felt humiliated. What about my safety?” Walls said.
According to Walls, on Oct. 9, he had spoken with Deputy Chief Meyer in order to gain a better explanation of the situation and the misunderstanding. He also had contact with Azusa police on Oct. 12 to ascertain if what they did was standard protocol.
This incident brings into question whether or not Campus Safety should respond to a call if they know the suspected intruder is indeed an APU student. The Department of Campus Safety assures the APU community that even if an alleged harasser, (as in this particular case) is an APU student it is the campus-at-large that is their responsibility to protect. Even though this incident could not be substantiated, Campus Safety responded quickly and professionally in order to investigate the situation. Walls’ identification was checked and several questions were asked in order to thoroughly investigate the incident and determine if a crime did occur.
Whether on east campus near Adams lot or walking to west campus, APU Campus Safety is dedicated to providing the safety of all APU students. The close relationship with the Azusa police department also creates a stronger safety net for the students at APU. Although Big Red had a somewhat overwhelming encounter with law enforcement while on campus and was questioned at length, no harm was done to him or his belongings.