Theories abound regarding missing O’Donnell railing

The majority of a railing on the outside staircase leading to O’Donnell Hall went missing last week between midnight and 6 a.m. Feb. 28. The current whereabouts of the railing segments are unknown.

O’Donnell Hall Director Jennifer Roche said the residence hall is still working on gathering information about this incident and requests have been sent to the coordinator of operations for facilities to repair the missing railing. The Marquette University Police Department has not issued any statements regarding the missing railing.

While little information is being released about the railing, students have their own theories about what happened. Alex Guevara, a freshman in the College of Business Administration and O’Donnell resident, claimed that a car chase ensued, which ended in the pursued car crashing into the railing and knocking it from its foundation.

“The guy was going on 18th (Street),” Guevara said. “He saw construction, panicked, and tried to turn left into the alley. He realized that he couldn’t get out through the alley, so he turned back onto the road while he was trying to juke out of it. It didn’t work out for him. The guy hit the railing.”

This account has not been corroborated by MUPD. The account is fairly well-circulated among students, but there is no evidence that a car was driving on the sidewalk where it needed to be to crash into the railing. There are no skid marks present on the sidewalk, and no tire treads in the mud next to the staircase where the car would have had to come down.

The MUPD Daily Log states there was an incident involving a drunk driver who fled custody between 2:52 a.m. and 3:15 a.m. Feb. 28, but the timetable does not match up with Guevara’s, who said it happened just after midnight. The incident detailed in the Daily Log also took place on the 800 block of North 16th Street, while O’Donnell Hall is on North 18th Street.

“The break wasn’t clean, so that lends into the blunt force theory,” Will Hibbard, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and O’Donnell resident, said. “I’m really just perplexed by this. Who takes a railing?”

There are other theories being circulated by residents who do not claim to have witnessed the incident.

“I suspect that the construction workers took it out,” Jonathan Still, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and O’Donnell resident, said.

The construction workers in question are those working on Wild Hall across the street from O’Donnell Hall. The major discrepancies in this theory are that the construction workers cannot begin working until 8 a.m., and they would have no realistic need for the railing.

“I think someone cut it off with a saw and sold it,” Sam Feldner, a freshman in the College of Engineering and O’Donnell resident, said.

This theory has been common across many student accounts. The metal composition of the railing is unknown, but the inside has proven to be mostly hollow, which may have diminished the value for anyone trying to sell it.

“It was there one day, and gone the next,” John Brown, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences and O’Donnell resident, said. “I think that somebody might have gotten stuck. It used to happen at my grammar school. Kids would (mess) around on the railings and then get stuck. The fire department would come and remove the railing so the kids would get out. Maybe that’s what happened here.”

For some, the incident highlights that security upgrades might be necessary to prevent enigmatic circumstances like this from occurring in the future.

“I think the real problem here is that there is no security camera outside of O’Donnell,” Kyle Swansburg, a freshman in the College of Business Administration and O’Donnell resident, said.

While there may not be a security camera outside near the railing, there is an MUPD surveillance camera at the corner of West Wisconsin Avenue and North 18th Street.

More information will be provided by the residence hall as it is gathered, Roche said. Until then, the case of the missing railing lives on as an urban legend.