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After Bearson’s death, campus safety steps up

In response to the passing of NDSU freshman Thomas Bearson, Concordia’s Public Safety means to step up their game.

After his disappearance on Sept. 20 and the subsequent discovery of his body four days later, Moorhead police still hasn’t figured out exactly what happened.

According to an article released by The Forum on Sept. 29, Moorhead police are now “backing away from earlier assertions the public is not in danger.”

Head of Public Safety Bill McDonald said while campus security hasn’t taken any specific measures, they are being more cautious overall.

“We’re a little more vigilant,” McDonald said. “We have a heightened sense of awareness after this case.”

Specifically, Public Safety is less reluctant to include local law enforcement.

On Sept. 25, just one day after the discovery of Bearson’s body, Public Safety was called to Knutson campus center in response to an unknown man wandering campus late that night. Later, Moorhead police were called to the scene.

Students Gus McCarthy and Liam Nuhring were among a group of students who interacted with the man. Gus, an RA in Erickson, was the one to notify campus Public Safety.

“He didn’t seem dangerous,” McCarthy said. “Just a little off.”

Nuhring agreed with McCarthy, saying that the whole experience was odd.

When law enforcement was notified, both Nuhring and McCarthy were asked to give statements about the incident.

McDonald suggested Public Safety would have dealt with the situation internally prior to the Bearson case. Now, as they exercise extra caution throughout the investigation, they are much more likely to include law enforcement.

McDonald said along with these changes, Public Safety still offers the usual services to students. By calling Public Safety at 299-3123 students are able to get 24/7 escorts from a uniformed officer up to four blocks off of campus. Public Safety has also recently added a fifth code-blue phone located by the Boe-Olsen apartments.

The Concordian releases a mandatory safety report to readers, which updates and informs them of safety instances and unusual occurrences on campus.

Public Safety also undergoes daily camera surveillance tests, weekly light and landscape checks and proactive maintenance of any mechanical issues such as malfunctioning key fobs.

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