Stanford knew about the campus imposter for a year. He kept coming back.

Oct. 31, 2022, 1:11 a.m.

Stanford administrators and the public safety department have been aware since at least December 2021 that William Curry, the Alabama local who was removed from campus Thursday, had pretended to be a Stanford student and lived in multiple University dorms, according to communications obtained by The Daily.

The University kept silent about the security threat posed by Curry despite his removal multiple times from campus and a student’s police report of harassment. He continued to return, interacting again and again with residential staff who had not been made aware of the man posing as a student and living in dorms.

The news of Curry’s deception broke Thursday night after he was discovered to have posed as a Stanford student and lived for several weeks in the basement of Crothers Hall. Curry was caught Thursday morning and given a stay away order after allegedly taking a television from the dorm basement, resident assistants (RAs) wrote in messages to the dorm Slack. Curry graduated from Vestavia Hills High School in 2021, according to administrators at the school, and falsely claimed to be recruited to Stanford.

Further Daily reporting, including 11 interviews with students over the weekend, found that Curry lived in at least five student residences through a full calendar year. During that time, several sources told The Daily, Curry harassed multiple students and was repeatedly removed from campus only to immediately return.

Despite this, the University did not issue widespread or cohesive communication to resident fellows (RFs), RAs or students about Curry’s continued impersonation and attempts to live in Stanford dorms nor have they officially acknowledged Curry’s Thursday removal from Crothers Hall. Each time he was removed from campus, according to several RFs and residents with knowledge of the matter, the University only communicated directly with the RF of the dorm in question. This allowed Curry to live in the building next door to where he’d been ejected from for months without arousing suspicion. 

The University and the Department of Public Safety (SUDPS), which removed Curry from campus at least four times, have not responded to multiple Daily requests for comment. Curry, whom The Daily reached via text and social media, wrote that he did not wish to be quoted for this article.

A spokesperson for the Santa Clara district attorney’s office, which at one point during the spring was considering a case against Curry, could not immediately provide any information about an ongoing criminal investigation against Curry.

Curry’s intrusions across campus

Curry was first removed from campus in fall 2021 after taking up residence in Yost House. According to Kunal Sinha ’24 and Nikhil Lyles ’24, Curry had lived in Yost for several months in the fall quarter before the RF caught on and he was removed by SUDPS. (The Daily reached out to the RF for comment but received an autoresponse that she was away from her email.)

Soon after, SUDPS discovered Curry living in a room in Roble Hall during winter break in December 2021, according to contemporaneous emails between a student and a SUDPS deputy obtained by The Daily.

Chase Parker ’24 was off campus when he received a call from Emerson Stewart, a SUDPS deputy, informing him that Curry had accessed his second floor room through the front door, apparently bypassing the lock. When Parker returned, though, he said he found the screen to his window broken and suspected Curry may have climbed in through the window. 

At that point, Curry did not appear to have been given a stay-away order and told officers that he was an unhoused person trying to escape the rain, according to emails exchanged between Stewart and Parker. Stewart did not seem to be aware that Curry had previously lived unauthorized in Yost House nearby.

Bill Larson, the SUDPS spokesperson, did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

The Daily also reached out to Stewart, who forwarded the email to Larson. Larson then requested that The Daily not communicate directly with officers, though he did not respond directly to The Daily’s original request for comment Thursday or subsequent requests.

A week later in January 2022, Curry moved into Murray House with a new story, according to two former Murray residents.

Living just a thousand or so feet away from where he was initially caught, Curry introduced himself as a transfer student from Duke University. He began to integrate himself into campus social life, creating a Tinder account and spending time with various groups of students, according to Murray House residents.

Kacey Logan ’24, a former resident of the third floor of Murray House, lived alongside Curry from January to June. When Curry first showed up. Logan said they assumed Curry was just a frequent visitor.

“It seemed that he was a friend of the football players. So, anytime we saw him we let him in because it was like he knew people,” Logan said.

Once it became clear that Curry was living in the dorm, students came up with new explanations, according to Logan. Since several residents had moved into Murray after the winter break, the residents assumed Curry was one of them.

Instead, Curry was squatting in Murray full-time, spending most of his days in the computer cluster or alone in the dining hall. He was aided in his deception by what several students described as a gregarious personality and poor University communication with residential staff about the removals.

Cayden Luby ’24, another former Murray third-floor resident, said she interacted regularly with Curry. Luby said Curry took care to conceal his identity as an imposter — despite, apparently, not having a place to live, Luby never saw Curry repeat an outfit.

“It just seemed very normal,” Luby said. “Like I [thought], he must live on the second floor because I knew he was not on the first floor. And I knew he didn’t live on the third floor, so I thought he must live on the second floor. And then I found out that he didn’t live on the second floor [because] we went down there and we checked all the names on the doors and [we asked him], you don’t live here? Like, why are you messing with us?”

Luby said Curry was coy with his answers, giving a new one every time. To the residents, “it was like a joke.”

According to Luby and Logan, the RAs knew about Curry and thought he was a resident. They included him in a dorm-wide game of assassin, the two said. “Our RA thought he was a transfer [and] just assumed that he didn’t get an updated roster,” Logan said.

Harassment of students

While Curry lived in Murray, he also maintained a romantic relationship with a Stanford student, according to his former partner, who requested anonymity out of fear of continued harassment.

The two dated from December 2021 until the end of January 2022, which The Daily confirmed through reviewing extensive messages and photo documentation of their relationship.

The woman said she believed Curry was a transfer student from Duke. She said Curry told her he lived off campus in an apartment and was a Coca-Cola scholar. In reality, Curry was carrying on his deception in Murray, at times appearing to swipe into the front door with what, Luby and Logan speculated, was someone else’s ID card.

The ex-girlfriend alleged that Curry drank and gambled frequently and made friends on campus by providing alcohol to students.

After their relationship ended in January 2022, Curry began to stalk and harass her, she alleged. She ultimately blocked Curry in June 2022.

The woman learned that Curry remained logged into her iMessage account and accessed personal information about her life, including private interactions she was having over the summer which could only have come from her iMessage. He messaged her and her roommates continually, using different phone numbers.

“F**king me raw then sucking n**gas…dirty b*tch,” he said in texts provided to The Daily after allegedly accessing messages the woman had exchanged with a man the summer after she and Curry broke up. When she realized that Curry must have accessed the information through her iMessage account, she took steps to ensure her privacy. Curry texted, “change your password next time hoe.”

Unbeknownst to the woman, Curry had been caught by SUDPS again at the end of 2022 after moving from Murray to EAST House, according to emails from a University administrator to an RF obtained by The Daily (Logan and Luby said that the Murray RAs had become suspicious by that point).

“There was a girl who was gone for the weekend. And he stayed in her room for the whole weekend. She came back and he was sleeping in there [and] finally a discussion must have been had,” said Logan, who was told about the circumstances by a Murray RA.

According to screenshots obtained by The Daily of an email from Rachael Yates, the neighborhood program director for neighborhoods D and O, Curry was issued a stay-away order and removed from campus once more.

Yates emailed Murray’s RF Matt Snipp on May 31 regarding the incident, writing “Will Curry is not a student at Stanford.” Yates told Snipp to call 911 if Curry was encountered again. Snipp passed along a screenshot of the message to his RAs, who passed along the message to Murray residents.

Screenshot of an email: From: Racheal R. Yates Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 6:06 AM To: C. Matthew Snipp Cc: Alexander Prasadi aprasadi@stanford.edu> Subject: Re: Update Hi Matt, Will Curry is not a student at Stanford. He has previously trespassed in Roble and now was caught living in EAST this weekend. Currently, DPS has a stay away mandate out on him. If your staff sees him, there is no need to confront him, just call 911 and they will stop by. Best Wishes, Racheal Racheal Yates (Ra-shell), M.A. | She/ Hers/ Her Neighborhood Program Director D&O | Residential Education Office Locations: O: Paloma 102 ( Mo./Tu.) | D: Elliot Program Center 126 (Th./ Fr.) I'd love to connect. Here's my calendar link to make finding time easy.
Rachael Yates, the Neighborhood Director for O & D, told an RF in May that Curry had been removed from campus again. The Daily has altered this screenshot by redacting a phone number. (Screenshot obtained by The Daily)

As students returned to campus this fall, Curry came with them, once again opting to falsely reside in EAST, according to residents of the dorm.

“He showed up really early, like when the athletes move in,” said Luby, who lives in EAST this year. RAs “just assumed he was an early move-in athlete that they didn’t have the paperwork [and] they weren’t updated by ResEd.”

This year, as previously reported, Curry’s story was different. He told some students that he was on the track team and carried a backpack labeled Stanford Track & Field. “The RA was telling us,” said Luby, “‘Yeah, I saw him like every day, I spoke to him and fist bumped him every day, just completely unaware.’” After RAs noticed a window covering which was unscrewed in EAST and fixed the issue, Curry didn’t show up again, leaving behind toiletries and belongings in the bathroom.

He moved then to Crothers Hall, where he stayed for a month, according to more than a dozen residents who spoke with The Daily Thursday night and over the weekend.

There, Curry socialized with residents and RAs who assumed he was living in temporary housing in the basement. According to a message sent by Crothers RAs to their residents after Curry was removed this Thursday, ResEd had failed to supply a list of residents living in the basement despite requests from RAs on the grounds that it would be a “student privacy violation.”

The University has not responded to repeated requests for comment on this allegation.

While several students characterized Curry as an unobtrusive presence in the dorm, Sophie Szew ’26, who was in temporary housing in Crothers Hall and the only other occupant of the basement at the time, believed Curry tried to force his way into their room while they were inside.

According to Szew, Curry had struggled to directly answer a question about his permanent residence. Then, around the time when a television went missing in Crothers Hall — the incident that ultimately prompted Curry’s removal from the dorm — “Someone knocked violently on my door and was like is anyone in here and proceeded to try to undo my lock. This went on for three to four minutes.”

Szew said she believed the voice belonged to Curry. “I ended up moving back into the same building as the person who was harassing me, because I just didn’t feel safe at Crothers anymore,” Szew said.

Curry was reported to SUDPS and caught Thursday morning after he snipped a security wire and stole a dorm television, according to messages sent from the Crothers Hall RAs in the dorm Slack obtained by The Daily.

The whole time he was on campus this quarter, his ex-girlfriend, who provided The Daily extensive messages where Curry identified himself as proof, said that Curry had been following her around on campus. The ex-girlfriend, who said she had filed a report with the police department in the early summer, told The Daily she called the police each time she spotted Curry. 

“I saw him walk into Crothers. And [the police] just didn’t do anything with that information,” she said.

The Daily has corrected this article to reflect that a source inaccurately stated when the the ex-girlfriend’s relationship with Curry ended. The relationship ended in January 2022 instead of June 2022. The Daily regrets this error.

Theo Baker is a writer for the campus life desk. Contact news 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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