Exclusive: CSU Teacher Suffers Injuries From Intruder Attack, Says Worker's Compensation Claim Rejected

Bernie Tafoya
June 20, 2019 - 9:17 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A teacher at Chicago State University said he was attacked in his classroom and that his Worker’s Compensation claim was rejected for injuries he suffered.

Lecturer Dr. Richard Arredondo, 62, said nothing like this had ever happened before in his 26 years at Chicago State University.

On April 25 at about 11:20 a.m., an intruder walked into Arredondo’s accounting class in the Business Health and Science building and began staring at his five female students.

“All of a sudden, I turned around and I heard my class give a kind of gasp and there was an intruder behind me,” he said.

Dr. Arredondo said he put himself between the five young women and the intruder and was whipped around by his arm by the man. He said he pushed the man, who appeared to be in his 40's, onto a folding table which tumbled and the man fell, got up and ran off.

Arredondo said he suffered back, neck and emotional injuries and that his Worker’s Compensation claim was turned down. The claim’s examiner said his injuries did not appear to have happened during his work at Chicago State University.

The denial letter read, “Your claim for benefits does not appear to have arisen out of and in the course of your employment with State of Illinois. We are denying your claim for medical and/or indemnity benefits.”

Arredondo said he was “completely shocked” by the denial. With violent attacks happening in schools around the country, he said, “one thing that I’ve been telling everybody is that I believe that college professors are first responders. If we had been included as a first responder, it would be covered under Workman’s Comp.”

On his Worker’s Compensation claim, his students described the man as “interrupting” the class. One said the man was “stumbling” into the room and had a “strong liquor odor.”

Lecturer Dr. Richard Arredondo
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

The college teacher also criticizes the response time of Chicago State University police. He said it took at least 40 minutes for officers to arrive once he called to report he had been attacked by an intruder in his class.

He said a situation like that could have easily cost someone his or her life.

Chicago State University spokeswoman Sabrina Land could not comment on the slow response time by campus police. She called the incident “isolated” and “unfortunate.”

“We are…..the second safest university in Illinois among 12 public universities," Land said.

In a follow-up email, Land said there are not panic buttons in classrooms at Chicago State, “but there is a plan to add a new security system in the classrooms (similar to the panic button) this fiscal year.” 

Land adds there already are “panic buttons” in student-oriented offices throughout campus.

WBBM Newsradio has attempted to get a response from Tri-Star, the company that handles Worker’s Compensation claims for the State of Illinois.

Dr. Arredondo has hired lawyer Howard Ankin to challenge the Worker’s Compensation claim rejection. Ankin said he’ll seek to have Arredondo’s medical bills paid for and that he continue being paid while recovering from his injuries.

Arredondo said he does want to return to work. He said he loves teaching and his students.

He said he told his students not to worry, that, "on my watch, I wasn't going to let anything happen to them."

Disclaimer: WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya went to elementary school with Dr. Richard Arredondo, but has not had any contact with Arredondo since then-- more than 45 years.