PALO ALTO, Calif. – Stanford University officials said they were investigating claims that a young woman passed herself off as a student, talked her way into several dormitories and lived on campus for eight months.
The university would not disclose the woman's name or the circumstances surrounding her suspected ruse, but the school's student newspaper identified her as Azia Kim, 18, of Fullerton.
"We consider these allegations, if confirmed, to be a serious breach of security within the residence halls," Greg Boardman, Stanford's vice provost for student affairs, said in a news release Thursday. "We are conducting a full investigation into what occurred and how security can be improved."
The Stanford Daily, quoting one of Kim's former roommates, said the deception started last September, the day before Stanford's orientation for new students. Two sophomores agreed to let Kim stay in their room after she told them she did not like the roommate she had been assigned.
During the fall and winter terms, Kim allegedly slept in the other women's room or the lounge of the 210-resident dorm. Last month, she moved into another dorm after being referred to another student who needed a roommate.
Acquaintances said that Kim was a small, unobtrusive graduate of a well-regarded high school, and that no one doubted she was at Stanford legitimately.
"Everyone knew she was studious, and I was pretty sure she probably got accepted into other universities," said Hannah Kim, who is not related to Azia Kim but went to middle and high school with her.
Resident assistants became suspicious after comparing conflicting statements Kim allegedly gave and contacting the student housing office. Kim was confronted and escorted from campus Monday, according to the Daily.
Amy Zhou, Kim's roommate in the second dorm, said Kim apparently got into the room through the window because she never had a key. Kim told other students she was a sophomore majoring in human biology and bought textbooks and studied with friends.
"Personally, I don't feel safe now that Stanford allowed this to happen and that they're not doing anything to ensure the safety of their students," Zhou told the newspaper.
Part of the investigation by campus police and administrators is focused on finding out if Kim took classes, ate meals in the dorm cafeteria or availed herself of other services, said Elaine Ray, a Stanford spokeswoman.
The university plans to forward evidence in the case to Santa Clara County prosecutors to determine if criminal charges are warranted.
"Stanford is a remarkably caring and friendly community," Boardman said. "It is unfortunate that some may be able to take advantage of that trust for their own ends."
Property records indicate that Kim's family moved frequently over the past decade, but a current telephone number could not immediately be obtained by The Associated Press.