Employees Charge Police Slow to Respond to Call
Employees of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts charged yesterday that University Police were "dangerously slow" in responding to emergency calls regarding an assault there late Friday afternoon.
The employees, one of whom suffered bruises from being battered against a desk, said that they made at least five calls to the police and pressed an alarm button between 4:40 p.m. and 4:55 p.m., when police arrived.
At a normal walking rate the distance between University Police headquarters in Grays Hall and the Carpenter Center takes from two to three minutes to cover.
Sargent John Anderson, on duty last evening, said police records showed the initial call was received at 4:40, and officers responded "within one to two minutes." He added that there is normally heavy traffic on Friday afternoons, which might have delayed the arrival of police. He also said that there was some confusion at the time about whether the incident was occurring inside or outside the Carpenter Center.
Robert Tonis, chief of the University police, said last night that "as far as I know the police were prompt" and that Marjorie P. Kane, administrator of the Carpenter Center, had not mentioned the complaints of delay to him in several conversations since the incident.
Tonis said he will investigate the complaints today. Daniel Steiner '54, counsel to the University, has also called a meeting for this morning to consider responses to the possible threat to Carpenter Center workers posed by the alleged assailant.
The alleged assailant, a former worker at the Carpenter Center, also shouted abuse and made violent threats to women office workers in the rooms occupied by the head tutor of the Visual and Environmental Studies department, before maintenance workers succeeded in subduing the man, witnesses said.
One of the women, Cynthia von Thuna, assistant to the director of the Carpenter Center, said the man, whom she described as having a history of mental problems, grabbed by her by the neck of her dress and repeatedly banged her head against a desk.
She said she will not press charges because she said he needs mental help, not imprisonment.
The man was reported to have worked as a junior electronic electrician in Carpenter Center before being fired in 1972.
Holly Holmes, a secretary, said she and others are afraid that the man, who was released when von Thuna elected not to press charges, might return to carry out the threats he made, which included "blowing the brains" out of the employees who had helped restrain him.
Employees said they will ask the University for increased security measures, possibly including stationing an armed policeman in the building.