Stand up for Lavonte

Editorial Featured Opinion Opinion

He fought for you on the basketball court, it’s time for you to fight for him.

Lavonte Douglas, number 34 on the Missouri Western’s Men’s basketball team, represented Western on the court for two years. He was a 2011-2012 MIAA all-conference tournament player. He averaged 13.6 points per game. Most importantly, Lavonte is a student.

Lavonte isn’t a saint and we won’t pretend he is. Most students at Western have made mistakes and that’s what has lead them here. Former Coach Tom Smith is known for giving his players a second chance and given that Lavonte will be graduating in a few weeks is testament to Smith’s philosophy.

All of Lavonte’s hard work, all the time and energy he put into games to get Western another win and all the effort he put into his studies could go up in flames just because one officer has an aggression problem.

Administration has told him he’s a danger to us, but Lavonte isn’t armed. Officers that flippantly spray students with pepper-spray and then discuss, after the fact, what crime to charge students with are a danger to us. Administration that takes cues from these officers on disciplinary actions and felony assault charges are more a danger to us than a soft spoken former basketball player.

If you care about Lavonte, as a student or an athlete, you should tell the administration that if they expel him no one is safe. If an officer can be aggressive and claim that he was assaulted we are all at risk. If Western administration ensures that every students’ past follows them to St. Joseph, then no one can redeem themselves.

Most importantly you should help Lavonte because he is you. He is like every student who has struggled in a class. He is every student who looks forward to graduation. He is every student who loves his friends and protects them as fast as a 3-point shot when the buzzer sounds. Western isn’t just a university, it’s a community.

Stand up for Lavonte.

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