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Thursday, May 23, 2024

“Insane Person for President” served no trespass order after yelling in college library

Middlebury Public Safety received a call about a disturbance occurring at the Davis Family Library on campus on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7:19 p.m.

“Public Safety arrived within two minutes, but because reports indicated that the individual had already left the building, Public Safety canvassed the area around the library first in an attempt to locate the individual. They later went into the library to meet with students and staff,” Demitria Kirby, director of public safety, told The Campus.

Public Safety did not make contact with the individual when first reported, but they were able to work with the Middlebury Police Department (MPD) in identifying them. 

Based on information provided by students who witnessed the incident and social media accounts containing photos and videos of the individual, the individual appears to be David Kinsley Ricklefs. Ricklefs frequently posts on his Instagram account, @insanepersonforpresident2026, in the third person about the “sleepiness” on campus regarding privilege and how students have turned their back on him. He has also been posting promotional material for his supposed presidential campaign with the nonexistent “Mushroom political party” in 2026, which is not a presidential election year. 

Ricklefs made another visit to the Davis Family library two days later on Oct. 27, this time during the afternoon.

Public Safety, according to Kirby, received a report at 2:46 p.m. and again arrived within two minutes of the call, and Ricklefs exited the library immediately. They determined it was the same individual who had been reported two days prior and contacted the Middlebury Police Department.

Kirby said that Public Safety also issued Ricklefs a “No Trespass Order” which would make it a violation for him to be on campus. The Campus spoke with a representative for MPD, who confirmed that Ricklefs was arrested more than a week ago. MPD said they would not provide police records detailing the arrest until Ricklefs had been arraigned.

Many students were studying in Davis when the incident occurred.

Claire Miller ’26 was by the technology help center when Ricklefs entered the library on Tuesday.

“I heard yelling in the lobby and went to see what was happening. The ‘insane man’ was standing on a bench in the lobby yelling about how he was running for president in 2026,” Miller said. “I guess his suggestion was that we support him in his run for president.”

Hannah Alberti ’26 witnessed Ricklefs’ Davis library appearance on Thursday afternoon, when he shouted to students similar statements about them being “sleepy.”

“I walked in and I heard shouting, so I looked and everyone was looking at a guy who was dressed in a weed suit shouting while standing on the bench inside the Davis lobby,” Alberti said.

Videos of the incident obtained by The Campus show a man in a marijuana leaf print tracksuit standing on one of the benches on the ground floor of Davis and yelling into a microphone.

Many students and some faculty were recording the man on their phones, according to Alberti. 

On both days, some students found it troubling how long it took before anyone decided to reach out to Public Safety. 

“Maybe what is slightly more concerning is how long he was there before action was taken. He was yelling on the bench for maybe 5 to 10 minutes before running out, before I saw anyone try and call Pub Safe,” Alberti said. 

Students like Miller were also concerned that Davis Library’s accessibility to the public threatens student safety.

“I had never questioned the library being open to public access until after this incident,” Miller said.

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The Davis Family Library is open to the Middlebury community, as is the case with most college and university libraries across the country. A sign placed by the library doors after the Oct. 25 incident informed students that they would need their ID card to get into the library after 7 p.m.

“We encourage all faculty, staff, and students to be alert for suspicious or criminal activity. If an individual experiences or observes something that causes them to feel unsafe, we encourage them to notify Public Safety right away,” Kirby said. “If there is an immediate safety concern or a crime has occurred, we encourage them to notify Middlebury Police.”

“Even though Middlebury is small and rural Vermont feels pretty safe, this was a reminder that safety precautions are always a smart thing to have on any college campus,” Miller said.

Mandy Berghela

Mandy Berghela '26 (she/her) is a Local Editor. 

She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and contributing writer for the Campus. She plans to major in Political Science, with a minor in Arabic. Along with the paper, Mandy serves on the Judicial Board, social media manager for the Southeast Asian Society (SEAS), and is also involved in many campus theatre productions. On her free time, she enjoys long walks, cycling, and reading fantasy novels.