‘We do not want a repeat’: University staff respond to Miya Marcano tragedy

FAUPD, university housing, and campus Victim Advocate Candace Harrinarine discuss safety protocols and victim resources.

Nadia Gordon, Contributing Writer

Following the recent tragedy involving 19-year-old Valencia College student, Miya Marcano, conversations across social media platforms have sparked regarding campus and residential safety. 

Marcano lived and worked in Arden Villas, an apartment complex near the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. The prime suspect in the Marcano case was 27-year-old maintenance man Armando Caballero. A master key known to be in his possession was used to enter Marcano’s apartment before she arrived home from work. 

This event caused many students and young adults across the U.S. to voice their concerns about housing safety and campus security. 

Catherine Kellman, director of Housing and Residential Education at the university said no one person has a master key to university housing or any facility buildings. 

“Our key system within university housing is electronic,” said Kellman. “All keys have to be signed out, and each person has an assigned code, and the system takes a picture when the key is accessed for use.” 

Kellman explained that even before the Marcano case, university housing made FAUPD more visible in and around residential buildings. 

FAU Police Chief Sean Brammer said he wants his force to be proactive, not reactive against crime. 

“I try to see from the 50,000-foot view, I get down into the weeds and I try to make sure that I ask questions,”  Brammer said. 

Every year, Brammer explained that the police department reviews its policies and programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of the community. He also asserted that they are currently going through that process.

“I’m the biggest critic of what we do and how we do it. So, I guarantee you that if we find something to improve on, we will,” said Brammer. 

Additionally, Brammer said crime prevention takes a partnership between both law enforcement and the community. 

“I want to make sure that as your parents drop you off for school when you’re a freshman in college, that you’re able to enjoy your college life and that you’re able to matriculate and contribute as citizens to our great state,” said Brammer. “I’ve brought students and parents into my office just to talk because we do not want a repeat of what happened in the Orange County area.” 

Brammer says there are a variety of safety resources available to students that can be found on the OWL Ready app

“Say for instance, you’re coming from class late one night and you’re headed to the [resident] halls or you’re coming from the all-night study, the library, wherever it is on campus. And you just want someone to walk with, we can virtually walk you home,” said Brammer. 

This is a 24-hour feature that allows dispatch to follow students to their destination on campus through their mobile devices. 

Another resource mentioned by Brammer was the university’s Victim Services Coordinator, Candace Harrinarine. 

Harrinarine said she serves as a bridge between FAUPD and student affairs. Her role is to guide students, faculty, staff, and other community members dealing with trauma, victimization, and other matters on or off-campus. 

“My biggest focus is empowering,” Harrinarine said. “It could have happened 10 years ago, it could have happened last night. My  office is here to help.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the university held a week of events earlier this month to raise awareness about dating violence. Participants and hosts were encouraged to utilize #owlbethereforyou when posting online. Harrinarine explained it was important to educate students about FAU’s Victim Services through social media since a large majority of the student body stays connected through online platforms. 

“I think right now with the Marcano case, it has hit home for many people,” said Harrinarine. “We have people who’ve been impacted directly and indirectly because of this. My focus right now has been, who has been impacted and who do we need to provide that support and care for.”

She says her office is aiming to break stigmas against coming forward with reports of trauma or victimization. 

“I just want people to know that there are no requirements in the office. There are no obligations. This is just a space to allow you to be able to navigate and know what your options are,” said Harrinarine. 

The Victim Services office is located in the S. E. Wimberly Library, room 156. 

“They did this strategically,” said Harrinarine. “If somebody comes into the library, it’s the assumption like, oh, they’re probably going to go study. Nobody’s thinking they’re going in to see victim services. And the point of that is to create a space that’s private.” 

The office is open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Students are able to meet with Harrinarine with or without an appointment. She says it’s up to the student to choose their preference and if they would like to meet in person or virtually.

If students need assistance in reaching out to Victim Services, they can contact Candance Harrinarine at [email protected] or [email protected]. For 24-hour assistance, call 561-297-0500 and ask to speak to the advocate. 

For a full list of the university’s victim services, click here. 

Nadia Gordon is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information on this article or others, you can reach Nadia at [email protected]