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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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President McDavis announces investigation
Student accused of bringing weapons to airport, threatening others

ATHENS, Ohio (May 3, 2007) -- Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis released the following statement at a 1:30 p.m. press conference today. Outlook will provide follow-up coverage this afternoon.

Yesterday, I learned the details of a very serious matter. I am here to share this information with the campus and the Athens community today.

There have been allegations that a student in our aviation program has been threatening other students and university personnel. Allegations include bringing a handgun and a knife onto airport property and into university classrooms; committing an assault; and engaging in unsafe flying. Problems with this individual's behavior have apparently been occurring since 2004. Many persons have told us that they are afraid of him.

I immediately acted to suspend this student and to order that he be banned from all university property.

In addition, I have directed the Ohio University Police Department to take all necessary and lawful actions to protect the public.

The safety of our students, employees and visitors is of the utmost concern to me and my administration, and we will be vigilant and swift in our response to threats.

My administration is taking this matter very seriously. It is under investigation by the Ohio University Police Department and the Office of Student Affairs. At this hour, no charges have been filed.

The individual is being questioned, and I am told that he is being very cooperative and has turned over two firearms to our police department.

I would ask that all members of the university and the public withhold judgment until all of the facts are known.

I was deeply troubled to learn yesterday that this student's behavior apparently has been known of for quite some time, and yet it was apparently not dealt with - nor was it brought to my attention. If that is true, this represents a serious violation of university policies.

Therefore, this morning, I have directed Vice President of Finance and Administration Bill Decatur to immediately launch an administrative investigation to review how this matter was handled.

I want to encourage anyone with relevant information to contact the Ohio University Police Department at 740-593-1911. If anyone has been affected by this situation and would like support or assistance, please contact Richard Carpinelli in the Office of Student Affairs at 740-593-2580.

I wish to commend Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith and his staff for taking action to address this situation as soon as they became aware of it and for promptly bringing it to my attention. I also appreciate the swift response of the OUPD.

We must not - and we will not - tolerate harassment, intimidation and violence at Ohio University.

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Media Contact: Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing Joe Brennan, 740-591-8735 or brennan@ohio.edu

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