Actions of door guards defended

By Stewart Warren

NIU officials defended the actions of Grant Towers South door guards Monday after meeting behind closed doors to discuss the Saturday morning stabbing of a Chicago man.

“It was a prompt report of it (the stabbing) to campus police,” said Don Buckner, associate vice president of Student Affairs.

Friends of the 19-year-old former NIU student victim, Alphonso Knight, said Sunday that Grant Towers South door guards did nothing to prevent the stabbing and were slow to call the University Police.

Knight remains in critical condition in the special care unit of Rockford’s Saint Anthony’s Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said. His friends said that the attackers beat one victim with a metal crutch and then stabbed Knight with a machete-like knife.

Knight and his friends attended an after-set party sponsored by Iota Phi Theta fraternity and held at the Wesley Foundation, 633 W. Locust St., on the NIU campus.

Representatives from Iota Phi Theta could not be reached for comment.

Buckner explained NIU’s version of the violent incident. “When the people came into the residence hall screaming, Robert Stewart, the door guard supervisor, immediately initiated action to call the campus police and did reach them,” he said.

“He called the police before the crutch swung. By the time he finished the call, both groups (the victims and the unknown attackers) were leaving. The attackers went out the front door, and the victims went out the “B” tower side door,” Buckner said.

Buckner said the door guards are not expected to break up residence hall fights. “They are not trained in the martial arts. Their job is to monitor the identification of hall residents and residence hall guests, and to observe the lobby and to immediately access campus police,” he said.

The Student Affairs vice president said there are no immediate plans to replace the NIU student door guards with professional security officers. “I don’t know of any residence hall system that has armed guards in the residence halls,” he said.

And Bob Woggon, director of the Office of Public Information, said Sunday that security professionals would cost the university money.

University Police Lt. Kathy Guimond said Monday that police had learned nothing new about the stabbing and that the incident is under investigation.

No criminal charges have been filed in the incident.