‘Tower of terror?’: San Diego City College students and teachers say they have experienced their own scream ride in MS elevator

Nowell Montejo, Co-Arts & Features Editor

Picture this: you’re riding an elevator with friends and strangers alike, when all of a sudden, you freefall for what feels like an eternity until the elevator stops. You’re screaming throughout the whole ordeal, then everything returns to normal as if nothing happened.

This is a sensation that is commonplace when riding the “Tower of Terror” ride at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. However, this is not a feeling one would want to experience when riding an elevator in the MS building at San Diego City College.

This was exactly the case for Professor Jessica White-Magellan, sociology instructor at City College on March 12 at approximately 2:20 p.m.

“The doors closed and the elevator started to go up, like normal. I wasn’t really paying attention to be honest, and all of a sudden it stopped going up and it felt like the elevator dropped from underneath me,” White-Magellan said.

Concerned students consoled her as she stepped out of the elevator closest to the lobby entrance, shaken up from the experience.

“I was just thankful that nothing worse had happened,” White-Magellan added.

This is not the only time that someone has encountered strange phenomena with the elevator in the new MS Building, which has only been open just a few years. Samantha Hernandez, a student at City College, said that she had a similar run-in with the “Tower of Terror,” as some people on campus have been calling it.

“We were on the elevator going up, and we stopped on the fourth floor so people could get out, the door closed and we were on our way to the fifth floor. But before we could go to the fifth floor, the elevator jolted, and went back to the fourth floor. The doors opened, but we were all confused about what was going on. The door closed again and we went to the fifth floor. We felt something was wrong,” Hernandez said, recalling her experience.

Professor White-Magellan decided to contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to see if it could come out to inspect the elevator to determine what was wrong with it. After getting the request, OSHA had reached out to Derrall Chandler, the regional plant operations officer on campus at City College.

“I spoke with the representative from OSHA, and he said they couldn’t find a problem with the elevator,” Chandler said. Based on witness reports, there are conflicting opinions regarding the elevator, and whether or not there is officially something wrong with it.

Should students refrain from getting on board the “Tower of Terror” elevator? Or should they proceed as normal?

“We still need to do a full investigation with our elevator techs before we can do anything else,” Chandler said.

At press time, there was no official announcement that the elevator is malfunctioning. Elevator riders can report any strange occurrences to the Facilities Services Business Office at (619) 388-3537.