Emergency Phone Failure on Campus Sparks Questions

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – On Sept. 6, an emergency phone failed to connect to the university police department when two teenagers riding bikes assaulted a college student. The attack occurred on a University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA) bike trail.

Sonia Christensen, a student at the university, witnessed the attack. She was forced to use her cellular phone when the emergency phone failed to reach the police. Though the assailants were eventually chased off by three other students, questions arose as to whether the university was remiss in its responsibility to guarantee a safe campus environment.

Richard Whitney, UAA’s chief information officer, said the phone did not function because it was missing parts. Though a work order was submitted nearly two weeks before the incident, the lag time between the time the order was made and the time the parts were received was substantial due to Alaska’s relative isolation from other areas.

In response to criticism, the university’s IT department will now keep several spare phone parts readily available.

Though police have arrested one of the assailants, the second suspect could not be picked out of a lineup and thus remains free.

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