(U-WIRE) COLUMBUS, Ohio — Bill Hall, vice president of student affairs at Ohio State, is calling for inter-university cooperation in finding and disciplining students from other universities who participated in the weekend riots.
At the time of Hall’s press conference Monday, students from Bowling Green State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Kentucky, University of Toledo, Capital University and Baldwin-Wallace University were on the arrest record from the riots.
Hall said he had been contacted by a graduate of OSU teaching at Michigan who said he could identify four Michigan students tipping over a car on 13th Avenue.
Patricia S. Terrel, vice president for student affairs at UK, said her university will punish any students found to be involved in the riots.
“This was reprehensible behavior,” Terrel said. “We expect UK students to be good students in Lexington or in Ohio.”
An inter-university committee in Ohio may make Hall’s job easier. In the past, such a committee shared information concerning serious issues like student participation in riots.
“I know when we have our inter-university committee meetings we’ve talked about this issue before, and we’ve agreed that we would share arrest records,” Hall said. “Because they’re public information, we can do that.”
Hall said his hands are tied to some extent by the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act, which limits the kind of information the university can share with other schools.
“For instance, parents can’t view records about their own sons or daughters. The student must sign a written statement before we can even tell parents what charges students are facing,” Hall said.
Ruth Gerstner, spokeswoman at student affairs, said the university is doing all it can to identify and discipline all that were involved, but it does not want to make any mistakes.
Ron Zwierleine, the senior associate vice president of student affairs at BGSU, said students will be subject to the normal judicial process if they were arrested this past weekend.
“Any student caught violating the student code will be reported to judicial affairs,” Zwierleine said.
Zwierleine said if the students are found guilty of a “trigger offense” or conduct that jeopardized the safety of the university then that person would be suspended from school. That suspension would be in effect until the student appears at a hearing proving he or she is no longer a danger to the institution.
“It’s a shame; actions like this incident mar the good name of Ohio State and bring distaste to the mouths of those who are associated with the university,” Zwierleine said.
Zwierleine received his doctorate at OSU and has a son who attends OSU.
If the students allegedly from Michigan are also found to be guilty of participating in the riots, the procedure at that university would be little different.
Keith Elkin, director of the office of student conflict resolution at U of M, said he would first need a report of misconduct.
“Typically it’s got to be a Michigan faculty or staff member or a student that must make the complaint,” Elkin said.
Once that is received, Elkin said students would be prosecuted in a judicial hearing similar to a real court. Students are appointed to prosecute and defend the accused, and Elkin acts as a mediator.
Terrel said once UK students’ participation in riots is verified, their judicial process will begin.
“We will send notice to the accused of the charges levied against them. They are given the opportunity to respond, and if the charges are denied, then the student goes to a hearing,” Terrel said.
Terrel said she would do everything to cooperate with OSU and determine if students from her university were responsible.
“Our apologies to you and your community,” Terrel said.