Incident calls into question college response to multiple reports
A security officer responded to a report of a student engaging in “alleged inappropriate behavior” Nov. 8 in Hamilton Library, Director of Security Steve Leonard said.
Officer Doug Burker received a call at 11:36 p.m. from a student worker in the library notifying security of a male student’s behavior in a second-floor computer lab, Leonard said.
Burker met with the student employee before opening the lab door, where he found the student engaging in inappropriate behavior. The officer confronted the student, addressed the behavior, escorted the student out of the building and documented it in an incident report, Leonard said.
The incident report was immediately sent to Leonard, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Ellis Hall, Director of Residence Life Jacob Knight and Assistant Dean of Students Kirk Bixler for further review.
The Franklin was unable to obtain the report. Leonard cited student confidentiality.
When senior John Montgomery heard about the incident, he responded on Twitter in a 10-tweet thread.
“Well would you look at that,” one of the tweets reads. “The student who has repeatedly proved to be a racist and general pig is finally taken off campus for exposing himself in the library. Also for shouting racial slurs, AGAIN, at a black woman on campus.”
Montgomery said this isn’t the first incident involving this student that he’s aware of, which is why he said he wasn’t surprised to hear about the student’s actions in the library.
“When I found out what the situation was and who it involved, it immediately made sense to me because of the past behavior from that student,” he said. “It made me even more angry, more upset than if this was just a student I didn’t know or had never heard of.”
Montgomery said the student had also allegedly exhibited stalking behaviors off campus.
“That pattern of behavior—there’s been those instances of that overt kind of behavior—those are some of the things I had known going into this that that student had been involved in,” he said.
Montgomery used Twitter as a platform to make his followers—many of whom are Franklin College students—aware of the individual’s actions, he said.
“With the case that just happened with this individual, for me, the school—by permitting the individual to continue here after they had an outburst that was very clearly racially motivated, outright racist—by tolerating that, they then brought trauma on to more individuals like the individual that found him in the library,” he said.
In incidents like this, Leonard said the security officer on duty is either alerted to the issue or comes upon it on his or her rounds.
“Either way, the security officer immediately assesses, ‘Is there a potential violation of college policy occurring? If so, I need to address that behavior,’” Leonard said. “The security officer addresses the behavior, tells the person, ‘You are in violation of a college policy right now. This is not permitted,’ and gets the person to stop doing whatever they’re doing.”
Leonard said he could not release details on the student’s current status at the college or where the investigation currently stands. The student is still listed as enrolled on MyFC.
If anyone is a witness to suspicious activity or has a concern for safety, Leonard said the best practice is to report it to security by calling 317-738-8888.
“I always suggest err on the side of caution,” he said. “I would rather have 100 calls in a row that don’t really result in anything than one instance happening and someone chose not to call, and it turns into something worse. We’ll come every time.”
Correction 12/1: The number for security is 317-738-8888.