Columbia University Impostor Arrested After Two Weeks of Being Creepy to Actual Freshman


For college freshmen, the first few weeks of school are all about not making (and subsequently being stuck with during first-time-getting-wasted experiences) boring friends, learning which classes to complete assignments for and which classes to blow off, and, especially if you happen to be a freshman at Columbia this fall semester, not falling in with a 26-year-old woman interloper who poses as a bona fide Columbia student and makes friends by asking directly, “Will you be my friend? Puh-leaaaaaaaase??”

According to the Columbia Spectator, a 26-year-old woman named Briva Patel was arrested last Thursday for posing as a Columbia student and demonstrating an increasing penchant for creepiness particularly towards the class of 2016’s female students. While staying (somewhere) on campus for the first two weeks of school and attending orientation events, Patel introduced herself as Rhea Sen, just an ordinary, confused freshman trying to make it in the wacky world of higher education (nb: sitcom potential is somewhere on par with Saved by the Bell: The College Years and the latter stages of Boy Meets World).

Actual Columbia students grew suspicious of Patel when she said things that made it clear she didn’t live in a certain dorm (her supposed dorm number didn’t match her hall’s room numbering system), and failed to produce her student ID at crucial, “Where are your papers?” moments that characterize living on a college campus. When Patel was approached by an International Student Orientation Program leader, she begged off accepting immediate help with orientation registration, telling the helpful student, “That’s really nice, but I don’t want to cause any trouble.” During a particularly unsettling episode, Patel convinced two fellow students who were taking the subway to an end-of-orientation fete at the Bronx Zoo that she had it on special instructions from another student that they should get off the subway and take the bus. After a bit of aimless meandering, a police officer directed the young women to get back on the subway. The students who’d followed Patel were understandably freaked out after news of her arrest.

College impostors aren’t a new phenomenon, but they’re always so much less driven and enterprising in real life than in, say, some billionaire’s memoir about bootstraps, bootstraps, elbow grease and spit shine. Orientation leaders eventually confronted Patel, but she was reluctant to gtfo, that is until a confrontation that fittingly took place outside a Literature Humanities class, and subsequently with Public Safety. Though Patel certainly was creepy, none of the students who interacted with her thought she was dangerous — just socially awkward.

Imposter removed from campus after two weeks posing as a student [Columbia Spectator]

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