As issues of race and diversity come to a head on campus, a disturbing account of a Public Safety assault on a student has emerged. As you may be aware, Paulie Lowther ’13 was found at the Freeman Athletic Center on Tuesday, October 30, and charged with criminal trespass and breach of peace. After being released from custody, Lowther, who is African-American, was diagnosed with a concussion.
Accounts of what transpired during the encounter vary.
According to the Hartford Courant, which sources its information from the police report, “Lowther tried to run away from public safety officers when found at 12:10 a.m.” Police say he appeared drunk when taken into custody. (Lowther says he was under the legal limit.) Public Safety claims he refused to identify himself and fled when found.
Wesleying Editor Zach Schonfeld ’13 visited Lowther’s house on Fountain earlier this week to get his side of the story.
According to Lowther, he was invited to a pool party in Freeman on the night of Tuesday, October 30th, which was during Hurricane Sandy. He entered through the side door, which had been propped open by the organizers of the party. When he arrived, other students were in the pool. Before joining them, he got in the sauna.
When in the sauna, “[he] heard a bunch of people yell ‘P-Safe’ and a lot of running.” He decided to not run. A female Public Safety officer arrived. Staying in the sauna, he told her his Wes ID number and that he was a student. The officer “said it didn’t match anything on file,” according to Lowther.
“These actions, which can be clearly identified as a demonstration and sit-in, are protected as a legitimate mode of expression under Regulation 12.”
Last week, we reported that a handful of the students who participated in the Board of Trustees Occupation received SJB summons for violating Regulations 14 and 15 of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct. On Friday, charged students received confirmation of the charges and notices of their Simplified Hearing dates. (The occupation and its subsequent disciplinary action are also the subject of a Middletown Press piece by former Argus editor-in-chief Justin Pottle ’13. The Hartford Courant has also gone public with an article. More on this press coverage soon.)
A few of the charged students, including Oliver James ’14, have had their ResLife jobs threatened by the disciplinary action. “Both Yona and I were threatened last week with termination of our positions at Res Life for participating in the Need Blind Trustees Action,” James explained to me a few days ago over email. “We both heard today that we are not going to be fired but that we are being put on probation for the rest of the 2012-2013 academic year. Essentially, any further deviation from our duties as Res Life Staff, regardless of the nature, is now grounds for being fired. We hear this as the administration’s way of saying ‘Stay in line, or else.'”
Fair? The University was just following through with disciplinary policy by charging these students, right?
On Thursday night, two P-safe vehicles drove up to Usdan ready to take action. There had been a complaint about students bringing a handle of alcohol (what else?) to dinner. Visibly pissed and ready to write them up, they marched up the stairs, only to find out that the group had filled the handle with water. A simple smell test was enough. Doesn’t P-safe realize that we would be more stealthy about our alcohol consumption?
At least it was a welcome break from all the parties they’ve crashed lately.
Just because P-Safe hasn’t sent you an alert doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. According to Middletown Patch, two men were found trespassing on campus around 3 a.m. last night. When questioned by a P-Safe officer, they tried to run and later gave false information. Interestingly, an MPD dog saved the day:
The report says Harris gave the name of a friend he was visiting, which turned out to be false. The report says he fled on foot but was caught by a police canine. Smith fled the scene, police say, but Wesleyan public safety said he was seen driving a Nissan Pathfinder around campus blowing his horn, seeming to be looking for Harris.
Smith was found on Rose Circle, the report says, but wouldn’t answer questions when asked. Smith finally gave his first name, the report says, and said the car was his mother’s but denied being on campus. Wesleyan officers identified Smith, the report says.
The two men were charged with “simple trespass, criminal impersonation and interfering with an office.”
Memo: just because we have a sexuality magazine on campus doesn’t mean your hallmates want to be covertly photographed while taking a shower. A Wesleyan sophomore learned this unfortunate lesson today and was promptly arrested, according to a Public Safety alert fresh from your inbox:
At approximately 8:30 this morning, Public Safety and Middletown Police responded to a complaint from a student that another student had covertly taken pictures of her while she was in the shower. The alleged incident took place at a student residence on High Street. As a result of the investigation, the accused student was arrested by Middletown Police and has been removed from campus pending a judicial hearing.
Both Middletown Police and Public Safety consider this an isolated incident. The University is not releasing further details in order to maintain the privacy of the individuals involved. A report will appear on the Campus Climate Log later this week.
Last month I spent a weekend on campus, nearly got robbed, and only realized it the following morning, when a Public Safety Alert popped into my inbox. I urged students on campus to stay alert at night; it’s a lot more desolate than it is during the semester, and small-time criminals know it.
Unnervingly enough, Middletown robberies happen in broad daylight on Sundays, too:
Public Safety would like to inform the community that on Sunday July 1 at approximately 2:08pm a student was walking in the area of William St and Hamlin St when he was approached by two suspects who displayed a hand gun and demand his wallet and phone. The student complied and the after the suspects left he walked to the Public Safety office.
Around 11:50 last night, while walking across campus with another student, I noticed two guys in hooded sweatshirts following us from a significant distance near College Row. We walked faster. They pursued. We turned a corner. Eventually, they were out of sight.
I put the incident out of mind until today, when this Public Safety Alert appeared in my (and your) inbox. I’m reposting it here as a casual PSA for anyone at Wes over the summer: stay alert at night. Campus gets pretty desolate after 10 p.m., and if you’re traveling solo, consider yourself vulnerable to this sort of thing:
Public Safety would like to alert the community that on Sunday June 17 at 12:18AM a male reported that he was robbed on Church St. The victim stated that he was approached by two males as he walked alone along Church St in the vicinity of Olin Library. He stated the males displayed facsimile handguns, knocked him to the ground and kicked him. He stated that the suspects took his cell phone and ring before fleeing on foot. The victim declined medical attention.
Continued from yesterday, here is the second administration-centered interview on Tour de Franzia (henceforth marked as TDF), this time with Dean Mike Whaley, Vice President of Student Affairs. It’s pretty damn long, and so I’m just going to jump into it, but before that I want to note two things:
(1) Zach and I conducted this interview on the morning of Spring Fling, so when we tell this story we like saying “We pregamed Spring Fling with Mike Whaley.” Technically, that’s not an inaccurate statement, but there were no drinkies, so maybe it is. But that’s only if you’re being particular about the definition of pregaming.
(2) When we were conducting the interview, the dean had ambient, meditative/trance music going on in the background. This compelled, at least for me, a sleep-inducing lull that resulted in a lack of coherence, and so the conversation went in a mostly roundabout fashion. What follows is not the natural conversation as it happened, but a selective reorganization of the transcript. We assure you, however, that nothing whatsoever is misrepresented.
Read on for Dean Mike Whaley’s thoughts on administrative tactics to stop Tour de Franzia, possible wrongful SJB charges filed against students, and whether or not Public Safety is planning to use video footage to identify students on 4/20. For previous Franzia coverage, see emails from various administrators, Public Safety’s “Awareness Report,” and video footage by Wespook.
“PSafe post-modern liveblogging ftw”
You post incriminating Facebook photos, P-Safe posts an “Awareness Log.” So it goes. As usual, if you’re wondering what Wesleyan’s Public Safety staff was up to while you were belligerently chugging boxed wine up and down College Row in a homespun Kraftwerk costume, check out the Awareness Log on P-Safe’s website. From a cursory glance, it looks like the previous record of nine hospitalizations has been reduced down to four (or five if you count one “intoxicated non-student who was transported to the ER”). On the other hand, the number of documented students is almost certainly way up, given the increased administrative presence (sup, ResLife?) during the Tour.
Other surprising highlights from the awareness log include (a) “individuals in a vehicle yelling racial slurs” (not students, I hope), (b) “Fire Alarm-Foss Hill-Malicious activation of pull station” (is that what all the firetrucks by Weshop were responding to?), and (c) damaged doors and windows.
Scroll on for the full log. The report more or less pauses with one last hospitalization at 2:58, picking up with one mention of “unidentified suspicious people” at 5 a.m. Click here for last year’s P-Safe Report and here for a collection of administrative emails urging students not to participate. Check back here tomorrow for more administrative perspectives on Tour de Franzia.
The university tried this year, harder than ever, to prevent Tour de Franzia before it began. It failed. Franzia popped off last night—with a few more class deans and ResLife staff than usual, and probably a few more SJB summons as well.
Here’s a glimpse back at the university’s widespread email campaign imploring you not to tour. In other news, clean up your mess.
From Dean Brown to 2013:
I wanted to encourage you to not participate in the Tour de Franzia. I am really concerned about this event and ask that you consider the consequences for yourself and others. There will be a strong administrative presence due to our concern for health and safety issues. An SJB record stays on your record for six years from its occurrence, so think how one night could make a difference not only in this respect, but even longer in terms of your health and safety.
Best, Dean Brown