If I work at a university and left my things on campus but somebody stole all my stuff, now what?

I am an International student at a U.S. university. I work at the dorms as a Resident Assistant. Normally in summer we have to take all our stuff out of the dorms but because I was going to work during the summer and I only had to leave for 2 weeks. My supervisor told me I could leave my stuff in the room, so I did but I left it locked, including windows, and I 2 sings in the door that said

Asked on May 31, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Telling you that you "could" leave your belongings in the room is not at all the same thing as guarantying that it will be safe or that they will reimburse you for its loss. Unless you had something in writing from the university basically "insuring" your items--i.e. that they would pay for them if stolen--the university is not liable for the theft, even if the items were stolen by university cleaning people or other staff; that is because employers are not liable for the criminal acts of employees, since criminal acts are outside the scope of employment (not what they are employed for). Perhaps your nation's consulate can help you in some way; or you can contact the municipal police and see if they can refer you to any state or local organizations or agencies that may help crime victims; but unfortunately, unless you can identify the thief and sue him/her (and he/she has money to pay), there will be no other person or party to recover from. This is exactly why having insurance is always a good idea: to provide compensation when there is no way to identify or find the at-fault party or recover from them.

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