Students and staff attempting to call Security from a cell phone on Wednesday night were unable to reach the officers on duty due to a flaw in the College's new hi-tech phone system.

Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols said he was not aware if Security missed any emergency calls during the three-hour period when the department's external lines were down.

"I would say a good percentage of our calls to Security from students originate from cell phones," Nichols said. "But we do not believe we missed an emergency call," he said, noting that a number of students who had tried unsuccessfully to call the emergency line had ended up reaching Security through calls placed to the Safe Ride line instead, which continued to function throughout Wednesday night.

According to Information Technology (IT) Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis, Security numbers accounted for two of some 20 different College phone lines that were unable to receive outside calls that evening.

The flaw in the system occurred when the College's phone service provider, One Communications, tried to switch over from the old phone system to the new system earlier this week, Davis said.

"As part of our ongoing project of bringing the new telephones to campus and getting the full functionality going, we had requested that One Comm start sending the calls to our new system," said IT Telecommunications Specialist Brian Horn.

"Somewhere internally within One Comm, something went array and something did not get moved over properly," he said.

As of early Thursday afternoon, all campus extensions are now able to receive external calls, according to an e-mail from IT.

Davis said that he was disappointed with One Communications's service when rerouting campus numbers this week.

"There wasn't the level of attention to detail that we do internally, even though we specified to them that this is something that needed to be seamless," Davis said.

Horn said that the College uses One Communications in part because of its competitive prices, but that a switch to a new provider is certainly a possibility.

"There is a possibility... it's getting more possible all the time," Davis added.

According to Nichols, Security was thankful that Wednesday's icy conditions did not result in more emergencies than it did.

"We were very fortunate," Nichols said. "I'm aware just from talking to students on campus, that a number of them slipped and fell during the day but it was nothing that caused any medical treatment or hospitalizations that we're aware of."

According to Nichols, the vast majority of calls to Security on Wednesday night were for Safe Rides. "I'm sure we did at least a couple of hundred Safe Rides," Nichols said in a Thursday afternoon interview.

Other calls included work orders for water leaks in Morrell Gymnasium, Appleton and Winthrop Halls, and Jack Magee's Grill, as well as calls requesting assistance jump-starting vehicles with dead batteries and pushing cars out of snowbanks.

Even though Security could not be reached by cell phones on Wednesday night, calls from campus phones still went through.

"Also, students can always call 9-1-1 if there's ever a problem like that again," Nichols added.