Roth Issues Statement re: Fountain Ave

…And it’s remarkably level-headed, concise, and fair to all parties involved in light of all the accounts of what took place.

Contrary to some student concerns that the administration would try and brush the incident under the table, it seems clear that Michael Roth understands the extent of student outrage and is doing his part in reacting appropriately:

I have now reviewed police and public safety accounts and dozens of student eyewitness reports of what occurred when Middletown police, supported by other local and state law enforcement, broke up a student gathering in the early morning hours of Friday, May 16. Although it is clear that a few students acted recklessly, and perhaps illegally, and while it is also clear that some students decided to remain in the area despite warnings to disperse, I am seriously concerned about what seems to me to be the disproportionate use of force in this incident. I have communicated my concern to Middletown’s Chief of Police. She has assured me that there will be a thorough investigation, and I will be following up with her and with Middletown’s Internal Affairs Officers to investigate the matter fully.

Students that night on Fountain Ave. were celebrating the end of the semester when they were ordered by Wesleyan Public Safety, and then the Middletown Police, to clear the street. From the evidence I have seen, there was no “riot,” as has been reported, nor was there any obvious public danger. However, it is clear that many students ignored requests to clear the street, and there are very disturbing reports of bottles or other projectiles thrown in the direction of police or their vehicles. We take this very seriously, and any students found in violation of the law or of Wesleyan rules will be held accountable for their actions.

It is apparent that some students decided to ignore the officers’ orders, but it is also clear that many, if not most, never heard the police demand that they leave the area. In any case, I am deeply troubled by what seems to have been an indiscriminate use of pepper spray and dogs to clear an area where students were peacefully gathered. Reports of unprofessional and violent behavior by some police officers are alarming. Again, I will be working with appropriate authorities to address these matters.

We are examining the policies and operations of Wesleyan’s Public Safety Department, and its relation to the Middletown Police Department. We value our positive relationship with Middletown and with the MPD, and we are grateful for the assistance the department provides our community on a regular basis. But let me be clear: we will not tolerate abusive behavior by the police any more than we will tolerate it by our own students.

I deeply regret that these events took place at what should have been a joyous end to the semester. Our goal will be to ensure that these kinds of incidents do not occur in the future, and I have already begun working with Middletown and campus leaders to address our mutual concerns and interests.

Read the whole thing at its source, or leave some non-anonymous feedback, at the Roth Blog.

44 thoughts on “Roth Issues Statement re: Fountain Ave

  1. Anonymous

    I don’t know about 6:27 not being a Wes student. I mean, George W. Bush is not my president, and I’m an American.

  2. Anonymous

    I don’t know about 6:27 not being a Wes student. I mean, George W. Bush is not my president, and I’m an American.

  3. Anonymous

    also 6:27 clearly is not a wesleyan student “your president.” this explains a loooot.

  4. Anonymous

    also 6:27 clearly is not a wesleyan student “your president.” this explains a loooot.

  5. Anonymous

    Every anti-Wesleyan student post was left by 6:27? Sweet! Does that mean every pro Wesleyan student post was left by 8:38? And what about the semi-pro/ quasi-anti posts? 10:44? So then there’s only, like four of us out here making all this noise. Wow, we need lives.

  6. Anonymous

    Every anti-Wesleyan student post was left by 6:27? Sweet! Does that mean every pro Wesleyan student post was left by 8:38? And what about the semi-pro/ quasi-anti posts? 10:44? So then there’s only, like four of us out here making all this noise. Wow, we need lives.

  7. Anonymous

    lol will someone please tell 6:27 their writing style is making it really obvious who they are in every “anonymous” anti-Wesleyan student comment posted re: fountain posts?

  8. Anonymous

    lol will someone please tell 6:27 their writing style is making it really obvious who they are in every “anonymous” anti-Wesleyan student comment posted re: fountain posts?

  9. Anonymous

    If Roth is Chamberlain, who does that make Hitler? I’m thinking Brown, but I might be reading this wrong.

  10. Anonymous

    If Roth is Chamberlain, who does that make Hitler? I’m thinking Brown, but I might be reading this wrong.

  11. Anonymous

    Interesting – first Roth caves to his facilities people after just a bit of public grousing about being “unfair.” Now he rolls over for 200+ drunk students who think they shouldn’t expect cops to get angry after having bottles thrown at them. Congratulations Wesleyan! Its sounds like your new president is none other than Neville Chamberlain. A perfect fit all around!

  12. Anonymous

    Interesting – first Roth caves to his facilities people after just a bit of public grousing about being “unfair.” Now he rolls over for 200+ drunk students who think they shouldn’t expect cops to get angry after having bottles thrown at them. Congratulations Wesleyan! Its sounds like your new president is none other than Neville Chamberlain. A perfect fit all around!

  13. Justin L.

    While the ultimate outcome will take years to become evident, this sounds like an excellent beginning. I give much credit to President Roth.

  14. Justin L.

    While the ultimate outcome will take years to become evident, this sounds like an excellent beginning. I give much credit to President Roth.

  15. rob

    I agree with 1:44. No matter what Roth does (and I’m pleased whith his response so far), we need to make this our issue and deal with it as students, not wait for the administration to act or speak in our name.

  16. rob

    I agree with 1:44. No matter what Roth does (and I’m pleased whith his response so far), we need to make this our issue and deal with it as students, not wait for the administration to act or speak in our name.

  17. Anonymous

    Thank you President Roth, your response makes me feel like my voice was heard. Wesleyan feels more secure knowing that you listen to the students, respect what they have to say, and take action to ensure that we live in a safe environment.

  18. Anonymous

    Thank you President Roth, your response makes me feel like my voice was heard. Wesleyan feels more secure knowing that you listen to the students, respect what they have to say, and take action to ensure that we live in a safe environment.

  19. Anonymous

    I’m very happy with the response. Now, it’s our job as students to make sure this issue doesn’t die out without resolution in the coming months. (And I’m not saying it will, as this is a really positive step by Roth, but you never know.)

  20. Anonymous

    I’m very happy with the response. Now, it’s our job as students to make sure this issue doesn’t die out without resolution in the coming months. (And I’m not saying it will, as this is a really positive step by Roth, but you never know.)

  21. Anonymous

    his response was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. I have gained some respect for him.- Formerly avid anti-Roth student

  22. Anonymous

    his response was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be. I have gained some respect for him.

    – Formerly avid anti-Roth student

  23. Anonymous

    roth did a stirling job. this issue is incredibly fraught but he handled it well. kudos.

  24. Anonymous

    roth did a stirling job. this issue is incredibly fraught but he handled it well.

    kudos.

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