At this time I again dialed the St. Olafs 24-Hour Public Safety Dispatch telephone number. After numerous rings an unknown male answered the line. I told [the situation and] that I needed a responder to be dispatched to Thorson Hall concerning my daughters inability to breathe The individual who answered the phone told me he was busy and would not provide a response (McBride: 9/8 Letter).
McBride then called Director of Campus Security Fred Behr and, after explaining the situation, was hung up on.
Later that morning, McBride contacted the offices of President Anderson and, after speaking with multiple administrative assistants, was contacted by Fred Behr who, according to McBrides letter, was unapologetic and told him that the 24-Hour Public Safety Dispatch number was routed to the maintenance department during this period to save money and that my daughter had fallen between the cracks (McBride: 9/8 Letter).
After the events of Aug. 29, McBride sent the letter from which I am quoting to President Anderson, which is too large to reproduce in full. President Anderson responded to the letter, promising to change the response situation in the future: I am sorry that you were not able immediately to connect with a person who could assure you that help was on the way. We believed that we had a system in place that was workable, but it did not meet our expectations (Anderson: 9/11 Letter).
It seems the problem has been fixed. But due to his treatment in the matter, McBride remains skeptical of President Andersons promise and believes his daughter could have died due to the negligence of the St. Olaf Public Safety staff. After hearing that this may have occurred because Katherine simply fell through the cracks, we understand why McBride is angry.
Although the Administrations treatment of McBride is worth questioning, the real issue is why St. Olaf does not provide the 24-hour Public Safety Dispatch that it promises.
President Anderson responded to the Messenger with the following statement dissuading all fears: The main point to focus on is whether students and families can depend upon emergency calls to the college receiving a proper response. The answer is yes. Emergency calls that come in during the day are taken by the campus operator. Emergency calls that come during the night while school is in session are answered by students that we hire especially for this purpose. We have just added a new level of response: emergency calls that come in during the night when school is not in session are routed directly to the St. Olaf public safety officer on duty.
If you have any questions or opinions, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org for further discussion in the next issue of the Manitou Messenger.