A third-year UC Santa Barbara student was arrested Sunday afternoon on a felony charge of stalking and two misdemeanor charges of vandalism and “annoying phone calls” after allegedly repeatedly harassing another UCSB student, showing up to San Rafael Residence Hall and writing their names together on her door in what appeared to be blood.
The third-year student, Dante Linden, is suspended indefinitely until a Title IX investigation is completed, according to Alexis — the student that reported that Linden was stalking her, who the Nexus is referring to with her first name only to protect her privacy.
Alexis said she was informed about his suspension by the Office of Student Conduct. When asked about Linden’s status as a student, university spokesperson Andrea Estrada said the university was “prohibited by law and policy from discussing the specifics of this case.”
Fall 2019 was Linden’s first quarter at UCSB, according to student verification records.
Linden was being held on a $150,000 bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail until his arraignment on Tuesday morning, when his charges were dropped to two misdemeanor charges of stalking and vandalism. His bail was also reduced to $2,500, which he posted, and he was subsequently released Tuesday evening.
The judicial officer in the case, Judge Clifford R. Anderson III, made Linden’s bail contingent on his compliance with a criminal protective order that was filed the same day, which orders Linden not to contact or come within 150 yards of Alexis. Alexis said she also requested a no-contact order through the Office of Student Conduct on campus on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Nexus, Alexis said she first met Linden on Tinder at the beginning of the school year and “hooked up” with him approximately three times over the course of a week and a half.
“I didn’t think it was a big deal, and [he] wasn’t even the only person I was seeing or anything like that,” she said. “After that, he was just kind of weird, and not really my type … so I just cut him off, like I just ghosted him, like you do in that situation.”
That’s when Linden’s behavior became unstable, and he began to send her threatening and vulgar messages, Alexis said.
“He’d be like, ‘Fuck you, you’re with another guy’ or something. And I was just like, okay, [I] blocked [him] on Snapchat, like that’s easy,” she said. “And then … he was on my Instagram, saying, ‘Why did you block me?’”
After blocking Linden on multiple platforms, Alexis said he then began texting her, asking her to come over, what she was doing and if he could come over to her place, she said. Initially, Alexis didn’t respond, but said she eventually told Linden: “Dude, I don’t feel the same way about you; I’m talking to someone else so, yeah, leave me alone.”
Even though she later blocked him on iMessage, Alexis said the block didn’t transfer over to her laptop, where he continued to harass her.
“He sent me … like 25 texts, [a] message poem thing saying, ‘I like the way your eyes moved.’ Like ‘Oh my dear Alexis.’ Like really weird stuff,” she said. “This Friday, I was talking to my friend on FaceTime and I get this random FaceTime call … and I answer it and it’s him.”
Alexis said she immediately ended the call, but Linden kept calling and texting her.
“At that point I was like, stop talking to me, you’re stalking me, I’m going to report it. And he was like, ‘Alright, do it, I don’t care. Tell the feds, I don’t care,’ just kind of making a joke about it.”
Later that night, while Alexis was out of town, Linden allegedly came to her room in San Rafael Hall and starting loudly knocking on her suite’s door at around midnight, according to her roommates.
“He had [either] cut himself prior — or was cutting himself then — and wrote his name in blood on my door,” Alexis said. “And then he was scratching his nails in my door, like his name and then my name.”
The next day, Alexis’ roommates found her name and his name written on the door together in a red substance that looked like blood; Alexis provided the Nexus with a picture of the door.
“They sent me a picture ‘cause I was [out of town],” Alexis said. “I saw it and I automatically had a panic attack, like I was freaking out, I was shaking, I was crying.”
Minutes after hearing what Linden had done, Alexis made a phone call to the UCSB Police Department to report what had happened. Linden was subsequently arrested with a warrant the next afternoon near the Santa Ynez apartments.
Alexis also spoke to a San Rafael resident assistant, Dallana Jimenez, who advised her through the next steps. Jimenez also reported the incident to San Rafael Assistant Resident Director Jesse Rodriguez, who later informed Alexis in an email that he had filed a Clery Act report and Title IX report, “as is required of [his] job.”
In response to a question about why the university had not sent out an alert to the student body when notified of the incident, Estrada said in an email that “Timely Warnings are issued when certain crimes (see Clery Act Crime Definitions) that occurred on UCSB-associated property (see Clery Act Geography) are considered a serious or continuing threat to the campus community.”
“The decision to issue a Timely Warning is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facts surrounding the Clery Act crime, including, but not limited to, such factors as: the nature of the crime, the serious or continuing threat to the campus community, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts,” Estrada said.
In the days following Linden’s arrest, Alexis consulted the Campus Advocacy, Resources & Education Center (C.A.R.E) to learn more about the resources and services available to her in dealing with the aftermath of experiencing a stalker.
Alexis said she also consulted with Victims Advocates in the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office, who aided her in working out the legal end of her situation. She also said the university had offered to move her into a different dorm, but that she declined the offer, telling the Nexus that it “doesn’t do anything — if he wanted to find me, he could.”
Alexis, who said she “almost didn’t go to the C.A.R.E office,” walked in after those close to her helped change her mind; she was immediately connected with an advocate to help talk her through her situation.
Following her appointment, Alexis said her advocate was “super helpful,” encouraging her to explore all possible options and recommending that she take her situation to the attention of the Title IX office.
“[C.A.R.E. staff] were all really, really friendly. [My advocate] was really helpful with me. She’s helping me get an attorney [and] do this whole process.”
When consulting survivors involved in situations involving legal matters, C.A.R.E assumes the role of a “liaison,” providing them with the support to take their situation to the police or Title IX through “informed decisions” facilitated by C.A.R.E, according to C.A.R.E. Director Briana Conway,
“The criminal justice system is really complicated … [and] the campus reporting system is pretty complicated,” which makes dealing with harassment and stalking particularly difficult, Conway said.
“A major function of our role is that liaison role, especially around following up from these entities to get updates: ‘So what’s the status of this person’s case? What are the next steps? When can they expect to hear from you again?’”
“That’s really where our expertise and understanding of trauma comes into play and being able to understand how processes … re-victimize and can re-traumatize. So sometimes C.A.R.E’s role is to promote and help things happen.”
C.A.R.E operates on the basis of “services,” which Conway defines as “any interaction between a client and an advocate.” A service could be as simple as a short meeting, Conway said, or more extensive — such as going to accompany a survivor for “restraining order paperwork” or an interview at the Title IX office.
In respects to stalking, Conway said the “threat of fear” is a lot more common in survivors, especially in situations involving a high “volume” of harassment, which can be difficult to shake off when “peace and security” is all they want.
“The elements that make stalking stick out a little bit differently than the other forms of violence that we serve is around the electronic component of it,” Conway said. “All they want is the behavior to stop.”
Due to the pervasiveness of stalking through texting and social media, Conway said that it’s easy for people to feel violated when stalkers find a way to circumvent their boundaries.
“My whole family is obviously freaking the fuck out,” Alexis said. “I called my mom crying, like, can you imagine, can you imagine?”
“Can you imagine your daughter calling you, telling you [that] someone wrote in blood on her door? Like a stalker? It’s crazy,” she said. “[My parents] were really scared, and they kind of want me to come home and it’s crazy that that’s even an option, like that’s what I have to do [to feel safe], go home.”
A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Nov. 7, 2019 print edition of the Daily Nexus.