This message was posted in several Internet Newsgroups
in the fall
of 1996. This is the third and last post of the series of three.
SBU: You Think
You Would Be SAFE at a CHRISTIAN University
Re: the previous post "The Cost" of Christian Education"
Mr. Crabtree wrote expressing concern about the strange
"hocus pocus" post and his inability to confirm the existence
of an SBU student who was poisoned and disabled by
pesticides at Southwest Baptist University.
A response to his [Mr. Crabtree's] concerns follows...
Dear Mr. Crabtree,
Several attempts were made to reach you at your 800
number, but there was no answer. In regard to your concerns,
the harassment and slander of this student and others who
have questioned the use of these pesticides have become
one of the hallmarks of the SBU's response to the situation.
What exactly is SBU denying this time -- the existence of the
case, the students, the pesticides, what?
Are they still trying to imply that the pesticides are "non-toxic,"
even though the Material Safety Data Sheets state otherwise,
and it is against federal law to do so.
In recognition of the hazards to human health, it is a violation
of federal law to claim that pesticides are "non-toxic," "safe,"
or "safe when used as directed." [Federal Insecticide
Fungicide and Rodentcide Act (8)].
It is reasonable to assume that SBU officials may not be
eager to concede that they have engaged in (what might
be perceived by us ordinary mortals as) criminal activities
by continuing to proclaim that the pesticides used were
"non-toxic," "safe," and "safe when used as directed."
Is SBU still pretending (as they did in February 1990 to the
Agriculture Department) that this student did not even attend
SBU, and they knew nothing of any other complaints?
Or, are they contending, as they have for years to the students,
townspeople, and alumni, that their insurer, ITT Hartford, did
NOT pay for almost six months of care, including home care,
for this student's TWO separate acute pesticide injuries on
the SBU campus?
Is SBU still maintaining, as they did to their the new insurer,
Preferred Risk, and to the Agriculture Department, that the
student's second exposure (January 1989) did not even
[Granted, it does seem strange that ITT Hartford, who were
no longer SBU's insurers at the time of the second acute
exposure, did pay for some of the cost of her second injury.
If you ask politely, however, the ITT Hartford lawyer/SBU
alumnus on the SBU Board of Trustees would probably
be glad to explain their new "non-premium" policy to
Your inability to secure reliable information from SBU is
understandable and appears to be a tradition.
Maybe you were unable to obtain information from SBU
because the Head of the SBU physical plant, Bob Glidwell,
may have gone on another mysterious "three day vacation"
(while sitting at home).
During Mr. Glidwell's "vacations," it seems that the entire
SBU staff suffers from a rare form amnesia and NO ONE
can recall the name of the long-time pest controller or anything
else related the "non-toxic" pesticides (including, coincidentally,
that the blood test to confirm the immediate effect of the
organophosphate pesticides must be administered within
two to three days of exposure).
Perhaps, in Mr. Glidwell's absence, Nurse Nancy Hodges
could regale you with yet another "remembered" version
of the "lost" nursing charts ... dated and logged on the
SBU nursing records, complete with the student's exact
temperatures and number and color of bowel movements.
Or, if you would prefer a written explanation, perhaps former
SBU Chancellor/President Dr. James Sells could furnish
another in his series of (undated "confirmation") faxes...
If you are looking for "hocus pocus," look to the Master
Craftsmen at SBU: they make people and lives disappear
at will. It doesn't exist, because they say it doesn't. To them,
the facts are irrelevant.
Since the recent death of the student's attorney, Mr. Melvin
Belli, the Belli firm has been in reorganization, and the
student's attorney may be difficult to reach -- try again later
As you requested, the facts...
(more facts to follow)
In his response to Ms. Edna Ryneveld's March 21, 1990
Letter-to-the-Editor, concerning the unwise use of pesticides
on the SBU campus and describing Marie Ann O'Hara's
encounter with the pesticides on campus, Claude Pressnell,
SBU Senior Director of Admissions and Student Development
[now employed by James Dobson's "Focus on the Family"
Christian radio ministry], reassured the students that:
"The university has not and will not KNOWINGLY take
any action which would cause any area on its campus to be
harmful to its students....
[The] university...must provide for the elimination of pests
in its facilities. For this purpose the university contracts with
HIGHLY QUALIFIED BONDED PROFESSIONALS who
use only such chemicals as are approved by the appropriate
government agencies and who APPLY such chemicals in the
APPROVED MANNER." (BOLIVAR HERALD-FREE
PRESS, March 21, 1990, page 5-A)
Can it be assumed that the phrase "not KNOWINGLY
take any action which would cause harm to its students"
indicates that SBU, as a responsible institution of Higher
Education, would immediately take steps to quell any threat
to the health of a student?
Was that, in fact, the reality?
When James Collins, the Department of Agriculture
Pesticide Investigator, had arrived in February 1990 to
question SBU about the use of pesticides on campus,
SBU Senior-Vice President of Financial Affairs, Rod
Oglesby, and Administrative Assistant, Paula Livingston,
(now the Assistant to former SBU Trustee and current SBU
President Roy Blunt, the current Republican Congressional
candidate for Missouri 7th District) declared that they
had NO complaints about the quality of the services
provided by Campbell Pest Control of Springfield, Missouri.
Mr. Oglesby asserted that since 1962, they had NEVER
had a complaint with the exception of Marie's "frequent"
complaints and those several non-students who advocated
a "Pesticide-Free Environment."
According to the Agriculture Department report, Mr.
Oglesby said that this student, Marie O'Hara, had not even
attended classes since August 1988, in effect contending
that neither the poisoning in September 1988 nor that of
January 1989 had ever happened.
Terry Campbell, the Campbell Pest Control Manager,
and Richard Bakkum, the applicator, also stated to the
Agriculture Department that they had applied pesticides
ONLY in the Casebolt Science Center and the (Old)
Administration Building and had NOT sprayed during
the DAYTIME BUSINESS HOURS nor fumigated while
ANYONE but custodial personnel were present since
Sept. 1988 [when Marie was first poisoned].
Sounds good, doesn't it? Except for one thing.
IT'S NOT TRUE.
By the time these statements were being made (Feb.
1990), SBU's insurer, ITT Hartford, had already made an
initial insurance payment for the medical claims for Marie
O'Hara, this supposedly non-existent student, for both the
Sept. 1988 and Jan. 1989 exposures.
How could SBU claim, in March 1990, to have "not
KNOWINGLY take(n) any action which would cause harm
to its students" when SBU permitted and paid Campbell
Pest Control to continue daytime fumigation after a student
had been seriously injured -- not once, but twice?
Apparently, SBU did not anguish over the morality of the
issue at the time. The situation was instantly viewed, not as
an injury to a student, but as a "liability threat" and a challenge
to the establishment.
With the practiced belligerence and indifference which
had marked SBU's lack of corrective action in other concerns
(including the years of complaints about the dangerously
inadequate ventilation in several buildings), the student and her
"complaints" were negated and silenced. Daytime fumigations
were continued without interruption, not only into this student's
second acute exposure, but even AFTERWARDS.
OTHER students and faculty came forward to witness
to strikingly similar exposures (some involving complaints
and injuries as long as 20 years before), even in the
SAME building (the Casebolt Science Center), almost
a year AFTER Marie reported the first poisoning in 1988.
One such student, Judy Taylor, had NOT even enrolled
when Marie was injured in 1988. Still, as Judy reports in
her Letter-to-the-Editor, the SAME hazardous methods
were being used during the 1989-90 school year...
BOLIVAR HERALD FREE-PRESS ~~~Letter to the Editor
(September 26, 1990)
"...I DID NOT find SBU to be pleasant place to study
when a man wearing a canister of pesticide began spraying
my study environment with poison. He was spraying DURING
a CLASS SESSION, in the EARLY AFTERNOON, in the
SCIENCE BUILDING. I sat in class with approximately 35
other students: all of us taking a test. Our eyes were burning,
the smell was foul and upon leaving the classroom I saw the
cause of our distress, a man SPRAYING A PESTICIDE from
a canister. By the time I reached the exit, my THROAT was
CONSTRICTED and other students were coughing and
rubbing their eyes.
One day I would have studied in my truck, the wind was
cool and I had some spare time, but the wind was also
blowing a POISON about the parking lot, for the men with
the canisters were spraying the grass.
Even if some of you are too stubborn or ignorant of
pesticide alternatives, would you concede that SBU could
choose better times to spray poisons, maybe after or before
Judy Lee Taylor
*********end of Letter to the Editor********************
In October 1991, after Marie's pleas for information on
the pesticides were ignored, Marie was forced to file suit.
---- BOLIVAR HERALD-FREE PRESS, Front Page
(December 11, 1991) by Dave Berry
[SBU STUDENT] SUES SBU AND ITS PEST CONTROLLER
Alleges permanent, disabling injuries
from pesticides used on campus
Southwest Baptist University and a Springfield pest control
firm hired by the university are being sued by a Bolivar woman.
Marie Ann O'Hara, in a petition filed in Greene County
Circuit Court, [CV 191CC2880] alleges that she "suffered
severe and permanent damage to her immune system; central
nervous system; internal organs; visual/motor abilities; sense
of touch, smell, and hearing; respiratory system; circulatory
systems; genitourinary systems; reproductive system; and
She further alleges that her "permanent, disabling,
and progressive" problems resulted from her exposure to
pesticides used by Campbell Pest Control on the campus
She seeks "fair and reasonable damages against each
She alleges SBU to be negligent in allowing Campbell
[Pest Control, Springfield, Missouri] to apply [dangerous]
pesticides to SBU buildings during times when students,
faculty, employees and others are present. She alleges
Campbell to be negligent in applying the pesticides while
people were present and failing to provide warning of
Bolivar attorney Gary Lynch, local counsel for SBU,
says the university "will vigorously defend itself" against
"It's a fascinating case that raises a lot of interesting
questions," Lynch says. "If the university is subject to being
sued for controlling its pests, a lot of businesses and even
private homes may be subject to being sued....
The implication that we (SBU) don't take care of our
students is offensive to us."
********end of BHFP article*************
As depositions progressed, the reason for the university's
reluctance to supply information on the exterminators,
the pesticides, and the university's role in pesticide use
on campus became clear...
SBU officials were familiar with the dangers of pesticides
because their OWN personnel had applied pesticides
Yet, SBU physical plant manager, Mr. Bob Glidwell, who,
after speaking to Nurse Hodges concerning Marie's "reaction"
to a daytime pesticide application, had vanished on a "three
day vacation," confessed that he witnessed the applicators
spraying pesticides while students were present in the
room and walking down the halls.
So what about the "HIGHLY QUALIFIED BONDED
PROFESSIONALS" SBU had hired to fumigate the
buildings while students were present?
Applicator Richard Bakkum admitted in deposition that
he was a high school drop-out, with no formal education
in pesticides or entomology, who was NOT CERTIFIED
until November 1989, OVER A YEAR *AFTER* Marie
had been poisoned.
Bakkum did not know the correct number of ounces
in a gallon and seemed confused about the difference
between a milliliter and an ounce. He did not know what
the rate of application was for the Science Center, nor
even if this information were on the label.
Further, Bakkum admitted that he routinely mixed
different pesticides and used a pressurized "fan spray"
to apply these pesticides to the entire length of the
floor baseboards as well as the door frames and lintels--
a "full baseboard" application.
On September 26,1988, as she sat only ten to twelve
feet from the open door of a classroom, Marie's lungs
were filled with the misted pesticides and solvents from
such a doorway/baseboard application.
Though Bakkum agreed that EVERYONE complained
about the smell (the "stink"), he contended that there are
NO hazards to full baseboard applications under atomizing
pressure (even in an unventilated building with people
present) unless you GOT DOWN AND TOUCHED IT.
Glidwell, Bakkum, and Campbell acknowledged that
they were informed of a student who had a "reaction" to
the pesticide on the SBU campus, though, not surprisingly,
their memories are a bit clouded as to the exact details.
According to Terry Campbell, SBU had scheduled
MONTHLY fumigation any time DURING business hours
CAMPUS-WIDE. (This does not coincide with his
statements to the Agriculture Department in Feb. 1990).
SBU authorized the regular fumigation (without notice) of
all dormitories, the library, the cafeteria, Student Union, the
indoor and outdoor sports facilities, the Game room, Student
Union, the campus grounds and parking lots, and classroom
buildings. Campbell conceded, however, that SBU had
made a "special" long-standing arrangement to wait to begin
fumigation of the (Old) Administration Building until 12:10 pm
[after the administrators had gone to lunch].
[On January 30, 1989, at 12:10 pm (her first day back
after months of attempting to recover from the initial
pesticide poisoning), Marie was in the (Old) Administration
Building when she was trapped in the misting pesticides
of another daytime fumigation.]
Though Campbell granted that he would probably evacuate
HIS family and children before beginning full fumigation in his
OWN home, he readily confessed to spraying dormitories
and other buildings while other people's children were present.
Nonetheless, he maintained that the pesticides used at
the university were "NON-TOXIC" to people unless you got
down and LICKED THE BASEBOARDS.
[This clarifies why one of Marie's professors was more
disturbed over the previous poisoning deaths of $200 worth
of his tropical fish than the present poisoning injury to one of
his students. Obviously, these fish were exceedingly talented
fish who had LEAPED out of their tank, FLOPPED over to the
wall, LICKED the baseboards, and dutifully flipped back into
their tank and DIED. One can surely sympathize with the loss
of such well-trained creatures.]
So, what are the ACTUAL HAZARDS and INSTRUCTIONS
on the pesticide labels obtained in depositions?...
****Begin DIAZINON Label Warning********
PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS HAZARDS TO
HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS.
WARNING: May be FATAL if swallowed.
MAY BE ABSORBED THROUGH SKIN.
DO NOT BREATHE SPRAY MIST.
DO NOT get on SKIN or CLOTHING....
WEAR goggles or SAFETY GLASSES when mixing
or handling the concentrate.
WASH THOROUGHLY after handling and before
smoking or EATING.
May cause contact SENSITIZATION following repeated
contact with skin of susceptible individuals.
AVOID REPEATED CONTACT WITH SKIN.
If SENSITIZATION REACTION result, CONSULT A PHYSICIAN.
Avoid contamination of food and feed....
DO NOT use on HUMANS, household pets, or livestock.
DO NOT permit CHILDREN or pets to go on to treated area
until SPRAY HAS DRIED.
****end of DIAZINON Label Warning********
Were there any instructions regarding ACCIDENTAL
INHALATION or EMERGENCY TREATMENTS?...
****Begin DIAZINON Note to Physician*******
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN! WARNING!
IF SWALLOWED, CALL A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.
DO NOT induce vomiting unless no other treatment is available.
VOMITING may cause ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA as
product contains PETROLEUM DISTILLATES....
Do not induce vomiting or give anything by mouth if person
in UNCONSCIOUS or CONVULSING.
IF INHALED, remove victim to FRESH AIR and APPLY
ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION IF INDICATED.
IF ON SKIN, WASH PROMPTLY with soap and water.
Rinse thoroughly. If in eyes, RINSE EYES with plenty
of water and CALL PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.
NOTE TO PHYSICIAN:
SOLVENT MAY PRESENT ASPIRATION HAZARD.
Gastric lavage may be indicated if product was taken internally.
DIAZINON is an *ORGANOPHOSPHATE* [a class of chemicals
which include nerve gases (such as Sarin) and which inhibit the
neurochemical cholinesterase and operate by interfering with
normal nerve transmission and inducing intense bronchial
spasm with resulting inhibition of respiration] PESTICIDE.
If symptoms of CHOLINESTERASE INHIBITION are present,
*ATROPHINE SULFATE* [antidote used by soldiers in the
event of nerve gas attack; also given to victims of the Tokyo
Nerve Gas Attack] BY INJECTION IS ANTIDOTAL.
2-PAM is also ANTIDOTAL and may be administered but
only in conjunction with ATROPHINE.
****end of DIAZINON Note to Physician*******
[Bracketed information contains inserted medical definitions,
explanations, and comments.]
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which SHOULD
have been available at all times in the event of an
HAZARDOUS DECOMPOSITION OF BYPRODUCTS:
...HYDROGEN CYANIDE [among others].
[HYDROGEN CYANIDE: An EXTREMELY POISONOUS,
colorless liquid or gas. INHALATION can cause DEATH
WITHIN A MINUTE. --Dorlands Medical Dictionary.
Hydrogen cyanide is presently used to execute prisoners
(the gas chamber) and was used to gas prisoners in the
holocaust of the Nazi concentration camps during World War II].
Were there any further PRECAUTIONS about the MANNER
****Begin DIAZINON PRECAUTIONS*******
DO NOT use this product INDOORS as an OVERALL
SURFACE SPRAY or as a space spray;
TAKE CARE *NOT* TO INTRODUCE this product
INTO THE AIR during application.
(2) Use ONLY in WELL-VENTILATED AREAS.
(3) *DO NOT* apply where CHILDREN are likely to
FREQUENTLY CONTACT TREATED SURFACES.
(4) REMOVE OR COVER FISH BOWLS and remove
PETS before application.
(5) DO NOT treat pets with this product.
(6) DO NOT allow CHILDREN in treated areas until spray
(7) *DO NOT* apply this product in patient rooms or in any
rooms while occupied by the elderly or infirmed.
(8) *DO NOT* APPLY TO CLASSROOMS WHEN IN USE.
(9) IN INSTITUTIONS (including, but not limited to OFFICE
BUILDINGS, museums, LIBRARIES, and SPORTS
FACILITIES), *DO NOT* APPLY THIS PRODUCT WHEN
OCCUPANTS ARE PRESENT IN THE IMMEDIATE AREA...
Directions for use: IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW
TO USE THIS PRODUCT IN A MANNER INCONSISTENT
WITH ITS LABELING.
****end of DIAZINON PRECAUTIONS*******
All the tests--respiratory and Pulmonary Function tests,
X-rays; blood, endocrine, urine, and enzyme tests; auto-
immune tests; cardiovascular and EKG tests; neurological,
Romberg and Quantitative Sensory tests, SPECT and CAT
scans--can not begin to measure what this student has lost
as a result of her experiences at Southwest Baptist University.
Words--medical terms, like: severe chronic upper and
lower respiratory disease; chronic bronchitis; Reactive Airway
Disease; chemically-induced asthma, chemical burns of the
bronchial tubes, esophagus, larynx, and lungs; or, chemically-
induced Auto Immune Disease, and Chemically Acquired
Immune Dysfunction; Neurotoxic Encephalopathy; diffuse
central and peripheral nervous system damage; severe
Hyperesthetic condition, and organophosphate-induced
delayed Neuropathy -- do not begin to explain or describe
the devastation to body, mind, soul, and spirit which Marie,
her family, and her friends have endured as the result of
her "education" at SBU.
One of Marie's half dozen physicians, specialists, and
toxicologists echoed this sentiment when, after reading
Marie's medical records for the first time, he remarked:
"You're not safe anywhere, are you? You would think
a Christian university would be safe. Once they knew they
were wrong, it would have taken big people to admit it
and stop. I guess they just couldn't do that."
SBU: You Think You Would Be Safe at a Christian University
====end of the article=====
This information is true and accurate as far as can
be ascertained from news and media accounts, court
records and other documentation, and eyewitness
Please see the related previous posts, 1/3 "An Education to Die For..."
and 2/3 "The 'Cost' of Christian Education" for further details.
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