College President Fired For Allowing Homeless Student To Sleep In Library On Record Cold Night

unknownBrian Carroll, campus president at Vatterott College in Kansas City had a human decision to make.  A student of the school was homeless and had no where to sleep on a night with freezing temperature.  Carroll decided to let the young man who is also schizophrenic sleep the night at the library.  For that, Vatterott (one of our growing number of for-profit schools) fired him, according to Carroll.  The young man did not steal anything or damage anything. Vatterott reportedly fired the president for allowing him to come in from the cold.

To make matters worse, the student had run out of his medication.

The decision by Carroll was prompted by record cold temperatures of four degree below zero.  He said it was a tough choice but “I just didn’t want to take the chance.”

A vice president for the college, Paul Ferrise, affirmed that it was his act of kindness that doomed Carroll:  “Mr. Carroll had a range of options available to him to help the student. He made a bad decision.”  Here is the vice president announcing the decision to the employees of Vatterott:

Of  course, Carroll made a good decision as a human, just not at the ideal profit-driver Vatterott employee.

I can understand the school’s concern and even the possibility of a reprimand for taking the risk as opposed to another alternative. However, to terminate an employee for an act of kindness sounds . . . well like a school that is premised on making profits rather than educated persons.

Vatterott advertises “Better Skills For A Better Life.”  It appears that one of those skills is to divest yourself of any semblance of humanity and focus entirely on making money at all costs.

119 thoughts on “College President Fired For Allowing Homeless Student To Sleep In Library On Record Cold Night”

  1. My question is a rather more prosaic one: why in the world would any school, college or university accept a schizophrenic?( Why would any business employ one? )

    I suspect government pressure.

  2. Every college has a car garage. Give him a sleeping bag, a blow up pad (cheap), and a small space heater. If he steals any of these then break his leg. Let him sleep in the friggin garage. Jeso.

  3. I think I would have done the same thing (or I hope I would have). Feels good to be a human.

  4. I don’t know if there were any previous disciplinary matters against Mr. Carroll and this incident pushed his case to termination, but the actions alleged against him are such that a sanction of some from against him is warranted.

    While I sympathize much with the plight of the homeless person, but allowing an authorized person into the library after hours opens an unnecessary risk to damage to the interior, theft, unlawful uses of devices, etc. The person could also assault a person who arrived early and alone without notice from outsiders. Moreover, if he injured himself somehow or had a medical emergency there is a risk of liability to the institution since he is unsupervised, and especially when he is reportedly not taking medications.

    If “homeless” was taken out of the equation, would the matter be different if Mr. Caroll allowed a random person such access to the facility? It shouldn’t be for the reasons previously stated.

    There were multiple avenues that Mr. Carroll could have reasonably pursued to accommodate the needs of this unfortunate fellow, but his choice was not reasonable. I did not see any exigent circumstances that made the library the only accommodation available. Yet the punishment of firing might be a bit too harsh. But then again we cannot have a situation where staff make arbitrary decisions based upon their own set of rules and values.

    1. but the actions alleged against him are such that a sanction of some from against him is warranted.

      No action is warranted. The fact that it reached the senior management of the corporation and they were reviewing security tapes strongly suggests cheap, tawdry office politics were at work or a compulsive griper was at work (the last is a common type among library employees).

      1. Yeah, I wonder if someone didn’t have it in for this now-ex president, and this incident was just an excuse for his dismissal.

  5. I wonder why he didn’t just drive to Walmart and buy the guy a tent??? Plus, there are these temporary homeless shelters out there now made out of cardboard, coroplast, and other materials. They provide a cheap insulated shelter. Like the SadieShelter:

    For a more permanent solution, if a large part of the homeless weren’t druggies and petty criminals, and screwups, it would be easy to provide a “tiny house” for them.

    I am mostly living in one now myself (<400sq feet) , and I have plenty of room for me, 6 cats, a TV, laptop, a dozen+ guitars, shower, bed, commode, sink, refrigerator, several hundred books, five bookcases, an eight foot long, seven foot high bookcase thingy my dad built out of crates and planks, two and a half cat trees, a computer table, nightstand, an armoire, a chiffrobe, a four foot wide cabinet unit an antique oak chest, countertop cabinet, and laptop bookcase on wheels, a recliner, two oak chairs, 6 guitar amps, a nightstand with doors, a thingy to hold guitar magazines. a floor heater with a fake fireplace glow, a CD cabinet, etc.

    True, I still keep my bedroom in the big house for my clothes, shoes, and other personal stuff, and I have other furniture throughout the house, but in a pinch I could downsize to something like this and never miss a beat. Something like this, or even smaller down to a 12 foot by 16 foot, or 10 foot x 16 foot would be very cheap to build in quantity, and provide a livable space for a single homeless person. It would also be extremely portable.

    The problem is, that nobody wants the homeless in their neighborhood, and if you erected a quantity of these in one place, it would rapidly degenerate into a crime ridden mess. Which is a shame, because everybody ought to have a place to call home, where they can keep their stuff and feel safe. Plus, the cities want larger more traditional homes to keep the property taxes up, where they can grab the money.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

      1. And this is supposed to be an argument? How? I’ve never been homeless in the sense that I’ve never been without a permanent address. But I’ve been homeless in the sense of going days without shelter. In the cold. Setting fire to a vaseline infused gauze dressing and opening my shirt so I could warm myself by getting down on my hands and knees over it. And then quickly putting out the small fire by folding the wound dressing back into the foil.

        Because the whole point of the exercise was that I should learn to evade and avoid detection (you’re welcome, America).

        Deep water survival training, desert environment survival training, jungle environment survival training, cold weather environment survival training, what makes you think someone commenting here has no experience living without shelter, unless they build that shelter themselves?

        I know what it’s like to be exhausted, cold, wet, and hungry, for days at at time. Not knowing where my next meal was coming from. Collecting bait for fishing, then deciding I’d just be better off eating the bait. Yes, I only did it for training purposes, but so what?

  6. This kind of story is why I invented the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I think it’s starting to catch on.

  7. Oh, I forgot, there was no homelessness problem under Obama.

    Thank God we can blame homelessness on Trump in a couple days.

    1. Good catch! You are right. Now we will also start to hear how any jobs that come into existence under Trump are bartender jobs, and part-time ones. Like that hasn’t been the case for the last eight years.

      And the Democrats and the MSM have even rediscovered the “APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest.” Which appearances they failed to see with Hillary and the Foundation, or Loretta Lynch and the meeting with Bill Clinton. Oh what a brave new world for Democrats and the press! Like they are little kittens, and their eyes have just opened!

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. Come on Squeeky, a lot of lib-I-Rulls (or progressives or lefties or whatever) are quite aware of Obama’s miserable ‘flippen jobs record. You read NC. Granted, the general MSM authorized public continue to bounce from wall to wall, but if you put Red shirts on the righties and Blue on the lefties, of all those who swallow the kool aid on that one, and mix em up well, you’d have close to a perfect Purple, i’ faith. 🙂

        1. Not mine. Mine are little juvenile delinquent kittens. I tried to let them stay out of the playpen all night Sunday, and I did not get a minute’s sleep. They galloped here and there, turned over stuff, pulled a roll of paper towel out all over the house, dropped a toy mouse in the water dish, and then spray-painted graffiti on one of the walls. They hooped on the bed, then hopped out, and then in and out in a random fashion. They mugged one of the other cats and took her catnip Mr. Greeny toy from her.

          I think they need counseling.

          Squeeky Fromm
          Girl Reporter

    2. LOL. I will remember that you said that, because that is exactly what’s going to happen.

  8. It is a 14 minute drive from the college to the reStart Inc. homeless shelter in KC, MO.
    14 minute drive to the Hope Faith Ministries homeless shelter in KC, MO.
    13 minute drive to the The Salvation Army Crossroads Family Emergency Shelter.

    Their are logistics not considered.
    It was a large risk.
    Nothing happened, but it was a risk (that’s why he didn’t take him to his own home).
    He put the risk on the college.
    Dumb move.

    What about the next night, and the next?
    On FRI 1/6 the low was 1 degree, but it was 5 and then 9 degree lows the next two nights in KC.
    It’s predicted to be below 20 degrees most nights next week in KC MO.
    People die of exposure when it’s in the 30s, even higher.

    The temp was not the problem.
    The mentally ill homeless are the problem.
    Mean college administrators are not the problem.

    What would Jesus do?
    He doesn’t give men a fish, he teaches them to fish.
    Staying overnight on the floor of the library is being given a fish.
    I like fish.
    But one fish is not a solution, in this case it was enabling.
    It harms the young man, permitting him to avoid what he needs to do: Get help.

    1. It’s true our mental health system is broken. I am curious as to why this man was homeless.

      I can’t help but think of my own father. He lost both his parents while he was in college, within a year of each other. He lost his Dad when he was a senior. He was in love with my mother, but he had to have something to offer her. He had waited to date her until he was close to graduating, so he’d have a future and stability to offer, and then this tragedy happened. He put graduating above all else. He sold his books so he could buy food, and checked out the text books at the library. It was touch and go, but he made it. And then he went into the military as an officer, and was able to get married.

      I’ve heard troubling things about the university perhaps not offering a marketable or competitive degree. Was the man homeless because of his illness, homeless and going to school to try to get off the street, or did he fall on hard times while going to the school?

      I agree with the arguments that this man needs a long term solution, and to get back on his medication. I hope he gets back on his feet and a return to health. Even though I understand the arguments against letting him sleep in the library, I think the school should have stuck with a reprimand, since this was a compassionate decision and no harm was done. If the man was a danger to staff opening the library because he was off his meds, then he would also be a danger to fellow students during class hours for the same reason. I have not heard his behavior described yet so I can’t say.

      1. “Was the man homeless because of his illness, homeless and going to school to…

        He was schizophrenic, and had run out of meds.
        He had been sleeping in the woods.

        In the woods.
        Off his meds.
        Supposedly a “student.”

        I’ve dealt with things like this before.
        It’s complicated and painful and heartwrenching.
        And no simple solutions (like one night in the library).

        The unChristian thing to do would be to throw him out.
        The Christian thing to do would be to bring him to the network in KC that knows what to do.
        The middle solution (what the college pres. chose) was dumb, de minimus, done only to avoid feeling guilty, and brought risk onto his employer without their consent.
        A very short term solution to a long term problem.

        The problem was not that it was cold out that night.

        Do something or don’t.
        But don’t claim a higher moral status when you offer to let someone else help you out and they didn’t like it (i.e., the school).

        “Carroll said for the student it was either sleeping in the school’s library…or the woods.
        What utter bullsh*t.
        Those were not the only two choices.

      2. Karen S – the counseling staff have the long term solution. Presidents know where the front door is and the door to their office. I am surprised he knew where the library was. That said, it was a humane gesture, in a stressful situation. The corporation handled it badly and should be sued for wrongful firing.

        1. Paul, I am betting that “school” like that does not have counselors trained to work with mental health issues. Their “counselors” are busy scamming potential customers, whoops, I mean students to sign up for classes from a worthless school. They need to be eradicated. I have heard many heartbreaking stories about people who are ignorant about accredication standards and are sucked into these loser institutions.

          1. They’re a commercial service provider to commuters. It’s not their job to employ mental health tradesmen or chaplains.

        2. There is no ‘long term solution’ to the students problems. What case management there is cannot be supplied by psychotherapists, only by physicians. Counseling for this man would deal with certain practical matters, and, no, that’s not the school’s job.

      3. It’s true our mental health system is broken. I am curious as to why this man was homeless.

        No, our mental health system is hypertrophied. The trouble is that state financed long-term care is skimpy for this client population (and, of course, some of this population do not wish to be in asylums even if they’d benefit from that. There are always trade-offs).

        1. From the excesses of the War On Poverty to the Bare Bones Budget cuts of today, we reel back and forth like a drunken sailor.

          1. The notion that we have a ‘bare bones’ budget for Medicaid is pretty funny. What was dismantled after 1968 were the programs run by the Office of Economic Opportunity.

    2. KCFleming – it is against every school’s policy to put a student up overnight at your house. That is always a firing offense. And you never know if the shelters are full or empty.

      1. A phone call would’ve solved much of this.

        ” it is against every school’s policy to put a student up overnight at your house.

        Which is a clue about the policy for letting people sleep at the school.

        1. KCFleming – you have no idea how many students sleep in the classroom or library all the time. What is different about this? And I got the impression from the article that it was too late for phone calls.

          1. That’s more a thing on residential campuses, where you have all-night hours for the library at the close of the semester. At that time, you do see camping out.

          2. By their virtual reality tour, I think this is one of those colleges-in-a-mall, so nothing is open at night, including the library.
            It’s not a traditional college, but a day trade school,and probably has just a one room library in an office complex.

      2. That is always a firing offense.

        Rubbish. Canoodling with students is a firing offense, not having them in your house.

      1. If, off his meds, he assaulted the first woman who opened the doors in the AM, who would be blamed?

        If he got hurt in the building overnight?

        If he needed medical attention?

        If he started fighting the voices?

        No risk?
        You’ve never worked with schizophrenics.

        1. There was no risk.

          The effect of being ‘off his meds’ is going to vary with the patient, but it generally runs to feeling physically unwell in the initial stages.

          He’s a registered student at the school. Its a reasonable wager he’s not derived from the violent minority of schizophrenics.

          You’ve never worked with schizophrenics.

          No. I’ve lived with one.

          1. Your n of 1 does fit with the half of schizophrenics that would (probably) be fine in this scenario, but not the other half.

            No risk?
            That’s simply wrong.

            “…feeling physically unwell in the initial stages
            How do you know it was ‘the initial stages’, or how long he’s been off his meds?
            More important, how did the President know?

            He did not.

            1. I know as much as you do, which incorporates the phrase ‘had run out’. I also know what the college president’s judgment was having talked to him, something you keep disregarding.

              If my brain worked like yours, I might never leave my home if I could avoid it because, hey, I might be killed in a car wreck out there on them roads.

              Look, you have anxiety disorders, that’s your problem. Not this fellow Carroll’s.

              1. “the phrase ‘had run out’.
                1 day ago? 1 month ago? 1 year ago?
                The college president’s judgment is what was wrong here.
                Has he experience dealing with unmedicated homeless mentally ill students living in the woods?

                A closed office complex is no place for a homeless schizophrenic guy to be camping out.
                It’s just plain foolish.
                There were and are other options that were available.
                This was among the poorer options.

                “If my brain worked like yours, I might never leave my home
                The movie running in your head must be fascinating.
                Tell me more.

                1. The college president’s judgment is what was wrong here.

                  There was nothing wrong with his judgment. He didn’t think it would be a problem and he was right.

                  A closed office complex is no place for a homeless schizophrenic guy to be camping out.

                  It has heat, chairs, and a water fountain. It will do as well as any place else in a pinch.

    3. Before the young man could do any fishing, he had to survive the night. The school had an explicit policy against permitting students into one’s vehicle. He permitted him to sleep in the library on the condition that he left before 9:00 a.m. when staff arrived, and gave him ten dollars and made him promise to go right to the pharmacy to refill his medications–which the student did.

  9. Karen,

    I looked up the school for live chat! They are somehow “offline” at this time but any person can leave their message for the school on that format.

    I think what you wrote above is great!

  10. I think Brian Carroll made a very kind decision, and the school should stand by him. There has been a long history of people letting others shelter in their shops, libraries, or place of business. This was a young man that Mr Carroll had some knowledge of, and would have reason not to anticipate any damage to occur.

    Was their concern that letting a mentally ill person spend the night, who was off his medication, would pose a danger to the staff who opened up in the morning? Were they concerned about the inch that would lead to an Occupy University mile? I haven’t clearly understood the position of the university. As for the “range of options” the only ones I can think of were to let the young man freeze to death, or call a homeless shelter. Were there even any homeless shelters? Perhaps the man had a concern about getting to class if he left for a shelter. His hope for a better life was getting an education.

    A friend of my husband’s had a father who froze to death while on a business trip. He was a salesman, and his car broke down in one of those Land of Winter states. He apparently tried to walk to a faraway farmhouse, and sat down to rest under a tree. He didn’t wake up. His family still feels his loss. People who live in areas with harsh winters are cognizant of these risks, and should know that offering someone shelter can save their life. The university should know better. The worst they should do would be to warn Mr Carroll that he has to call a shelter instead of letting people stay on university property.

    1. There were a wide variety of options available to this President. A homeless shelter or freezing to death were not the only two choices. I’m surprised to find so many, contributing here, so clueless as to what is widely and commonly available in most major towns enduring frigid temps. When temps drop down that low in any major city, there are a variety of warming shelters, open to the entire community, where individuals are openly and publicly invited–and encouraged–to come and stay on a cot, usually in some gymnasium of a community rec center. They are provided with hot drinks and meals and there is access to showers and restrooms. Yes. I am positive that was a viable and overlooked option. As President of this school, I would expect that he was sufficiently informed and educated as to the what the community had to offer in this regard.

      The President could have also spared a few bucks, from his own pocket, and reserved a room for this young man at a local motel. Believing that it was wise, or even compassionate, to lock away an schizophrenic individual, without his meds and without providing food, in a library, after hours, is, in actuality, the polar opposite of compassionate and humane treatment, especially when there are other options. This young man, deprived of the necessary meds, posed a danger to himself, to others who worked after hours as custodians and to the actual building and its contents. To help those in dire need of assistance, one need not dispense with all logic and common sense. Assisting in getting this person his required meds, in my opinion, should be viewed as just as crucial as providing a safe and warm place for him to stay. No one seems to recognize that as being a significant and an immediate need of this student.

      What would have happened if this young man, off his meds and in some altered state, hurt or killed an individual that he encountered in that locked facility after hours? A very real possibility. What would have happened if he damaged or set fire to the library? Another very real possibility. I suspect that most, on here, have little to no idea as to what mentally ill individuals, who are schizophrenic and off their meds, can accomplish. A locked library was no place for this individual.

      1. Bam Bam – I see your point. And a room for the night at a motel was a possible alternative. And I agree with you that getting him back on his meds were of paramount importance.

        I just think the university should not have fired Carroll. Perhaps let him know what he should do next time, but not fired him.

        1. Excellent comments Bam Bam, KC and Karen.

          I’m curious where this student stays any other night, with or without his medications? How is he affording school but not housing? Is he employed? How does he get his medications? So many questions unanswered. What policies does this school have in place for students with these needs?

        2. I don’t think you should have to tell a college president what to do next time. I suppose it’s because I’ve owned a couple of businesses, but I never would leave a schizophrenic individual who has run out of meds alone in my place of business at night. There are just too many risks. Did this president warn the janitorial staff and the morning librarians who would have been the first to encounter him that he was even there? And this is going to sound heartless, I know, but if he did set fire to the place? I know sleeping in a library is a lot better then being outside in subzero temperature, but it still it might get chilly depending on how the thermostat is controlled and there’s a lot of flammable material on those shelves.

          Here’s the heartless part: I am certain my insurance wouldn’t compensate me for any damage he did, if it were my business, since I created the situation by leaving him there alone.

          Much wiser to explore other options. I’d have found out more about the guy; who is the doctor who prescribes his meds, called his parents; is this student a local or is he from out of the area or out of state? I wouldn’t have taken on the financial responsibility of taking him to a hospital. But if he he was on his parents’ insurance perhaps something could have been arranged and he could have been checked in overnight. As a final option I’d have found him a room, and bought toiletries for him if they weren’t complimentary. I think a college president makes enough coin to spring for a Motel 6 room and a toothbrush.

          1. Here’s the heartless part: I am certain my insurance wouldn’t compensate me for any damage he did, if it were my business, since I created the situation by leaving him there alone.

            The library has people who aren’t employees in it every day. I’ll wager their insurance covers willful damage if they haven’t decided to be self-insured.

            1. “The library has people who aren’t employees in it every day. ”

              Yes, so did my restaurant. That was the point of running a restaurant. But not when we were closed. I honestly don’t understand what you are attempting to drive at.

        3. Karen, I think the hotel solution just shifts the risk from point X to point Y with ever more people potentially exposed to danger if such existed. Doubtful the hotel would knowingly take such a guest if they were informed of his condition. They too have insurance issues, not to mention their responsibility to the other occupants..

          Many of the cities I’m familiar with do not have anything like Bam Bam’s optimistic scenario and when there is anything at all (usually pretty grim) the spaces are frequently all taken quite early. At best it invariably means some to a lot of searching around.

          BTW, we lack information about the student which the President may well have been aware of so our speculation is, to that degree, reasonable only hypothetically. There are many degrees of this condition though true that if he required meds some risk at least was involved. Finally, the link provided and the explanation of the President suggests the Library was not part of any other inhabited building – so, at night, unlike the hotel, other people were not involved, just monetary value of the building – admittedly non trivial but then so is someone’s life.

          Finally, the real issue is not the library (which likely posed only/mostly a monetary risk) or some discussion even including discipline – the latter being a bit harsh, but rather such an over the top dismissal. That was counterproductive and cold. Bad example for everyone in such an environment.

          1. There’s nothing of value in the library other than computers, av equipment, photocopiers and perhaps a petty cash box. A school of that sort will never have a rare books collection and that library is likely filled with technical manuals which should be replaced on 3 year cycles. I’d wager it’s mostly a locus to access e-books. Used books can barely be sold for pennies.

      2. I’m surprised to find so many, contributing here, so clueless as to what is widely and commonly available in most major towns enduring frigid temps. When temps drop down that low in any major city, there are a variety of warming shelters, open to the entire community, where individuals are openly and publicly invited–and encouraged–to come and stay on a cot, usually in some gymnasium of a community rec center.

        He’s a college administrator, not a &&&*(% social worker, and what’s available in your area isn’t necessarily available anywhere else. It was a perfectly reasonable improvisation.

    2. It wasn’t a hard decision, Karen.

      See Fuller Torrey on the prevalence of violence among schizophrenics: stark staring mad is a great deal more common than stark raving mad. He might have been disconcerting to the staff. Violence would seldom be a problem. He was tranquil enough to be taking classes there.

  11. Let me put it like this: any family, any man and woman who desire to populate the earth, have more right to do so than anyone else has the right to shame and/or inhibit them from manifesting that desire.

    Any and every single non-existing single celled human being (zygote) has as much right to their place on the earth as any current multiple celled human being (post zygote stage of life).

    Again, every second that expires that a person lives (has not killed themselves), while believing in and encouraging population control, is the definition of hypocrisy. If there are too many people, look in the mirror and do something about it right now.

    IOW, every single person who says, “There’s too many people!”, by definition, they mean, “EXCEPT FOR ME.”

    IOW, the man and woman who desire to populate the earth, can just as easily say, “EXCEPT FOR OUR FUTURE CHILD.”

    China was sold the over population myth/lie pays the price now, with a shortage of females (females were aborted in preference of male children), plus they and other parts of the world are in a depopulation death spiral.

    Do some homework on this subject. I don’t know the ratio of aborted black babies, but I’m sure the ratio is several times higher than non-blacks.

    1. So how many people do you think the Earth could/should support? Twice as many as now? 10X? 100X? Until there is now room to sit down, anywhere? How many is enough?

    2. Also, are you saying that anyone who is not ready to commit suicide, should get busy and reproduce?

  12. If that decision is terminable offense, well, he’s much better off away from this foolishness. As CSA pointed out about, ‘at least he did something’. I find it revealing that the alternatives the VP mentioned are not detailed anywhere. Do tell, what options were available? Best wishes Mr. Carroll.

  13. He could also have taken the student home and let him sleep on the couch, or get a motel room. But he did something, even if the others who fired him and disapprove did nothing. Firing says more about the lack of worth of the school than the now ex-president. What a shame.

    1. The people who fired him weren’t there, on the scene.

      Had they been, how do you know they would have done nothing?

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