USC professors are flocking to defend the administrator accused of stealing a backpack full of cash

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“She’s like this sweet aunt who’s just so caring, so warm, and so wonderful. Her smile is so powerful and so kind. She’s one of those colleagues who gives you positive energy. It was good to meet her early in the morning so you could have that vibe throughout the day.”

This is how Morteza Dehghani, Associate Professor of Psychology and Computer Science, describes Francisca Trigueros, a 61-year-old caretaker at the University of Southern California, in an interview with Jezebel.

On March 10, Trigueros, who has worked at USC for the past two decades, discovered an abandoned backpack while she was cleaning the psychology department over spring break. Among its contents was “a substantial amount of money,” and Trigueros, unable to locate a lost-and-found employee, locked the backpack securely in a supply cupboard keep.

Five days later, after the backpack was reported missing by a student, tThe Los Angeles Police Department arrested Trigueros on suspicion of theft. That USC initially suspended her without pay and has since fired her. Trigueros now faces a court date on July 12. You and your family did not reply to a Request for comments.

Since the arrest dozens of Trigueros’ colleagues in the psychology department, as Dehghani have organized on their behalf—from privately collected donations to Venmo to circulating open letter that was signed by over 10,000 people this weekend.

“Last time I checked you should be presumed innocent until found guilty. She wasn’t convicted of anything, but she was handcuffed and taken to jail,” Dehghani told me.

Dehghani and Darby Saxbe, another psychology professor, first learned of Trigueros’ arrest by a Message from their lab supervisor Melissa Reyes as they returned to campus after spring break. According to Dehghani and Saxbe, Reyes had faked an identity Connection with Trigueros—one powerful enough for Trigueros to contact Reyes immediately after the arrest to explain what had happened.

As Reyes repeated to colleagues, Trigueros found the backpack in a classroom and tried to put it in the reception, bu nobody was there, so she locked it in the closet. Days later, Trigueros was approached by campus public security after they claimed she locked the backpack in the closet via surveillance video. Sshortly thereafter, the LAPD arrested them.

Captain Kelly Muniz, an LAPD spokeswoman, told that Los Angeles Times that detectives—Conducting investigations into all potential crimes on campus – the case presented to prosecutors after reviewing surveillance footage of the incident. However, Muniz declined to give further details about what exactly was captured on the video. As the open letter also repeats, the entire contents of the bag (an alleged a large amount of Cash) were still intact and untouched when the backpack was found.

When Reyes alerted the department, faculty members, who have known and trusted Trigueros for a number of years, were deeply angered by the apparent rush to reach a verdictment.

“One of my colleagues said if it was one of us [professors] Would the LAPD have done the same? I just don’t think that would have happened,” Dehghani said.

“I’ve been at USC for about a decade now and during that time I’ve worked in the same building and probably chatted and said hi to Francisca dozens of times,” Saxbe added. “She’s just a really sweet older woman and a very friendly face in the department—someone we have trusted to clean our office space, lab space and department. These are rooms full of valuable equipment.”

the tRust, it seemed, wasn’t shared by Aramark, the food service, facilities and service provider it went through The university has hired Trigueras and other campus administrators. Saxbe said the department sent a letter to Aramark advocating Trigueros. for free.

“Following an investigation involving police and our human resources team, it has been determined that the individual concerned is in violation of our lost and found property policy and is no longer with the company,” said an Aramark spokesman Jezebel via email.

“Just the idea that she would be treated like a thief or a criminal really surprised us all. knowing their long history. She’s been in the supervisory role at USC for 24 years,” she said SAxe.

Trigueros is allegedly lodge a complaint against it Aramark, according to Stephen Boardman, communications director for SEIU United Service Workers West, which represents guardianship officers working for Aramark at the university. At this point in time, the university supervisors are currently in contract negotiations with the company in the hope of better wages and more benefits.

That’s what the university says Cooperation with the investigation, although some faculty members say they are frustrated that officials have not sided with Trigueros.

“The silence coming from USC is deafening,” Dehghani said. “I’m disappointed in my institution for not saying anything or not doing the most basic things one could do to try to help.”

Suntil, Dehghani tells the department—and the USC community font big—doesn’t give up that easily.

“We hope through [talking to media]their employer would understand that they cannot treat people like just another disposable item, at least when it comes to USC and our department,” she said. “If they send someone to work with us, to become our colleague, then we will do everything in our power to try to protect them.”

https://jezebel.com/usc-professors-flock-to-defend-custodian-accused-of-ste-1848771728 USC professors are flocking to defend the administrator accused of stealing a backpack full of cash

Andrew Schnitker

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