Scanlon fight ends with four suspensions

By Staff

May 5, 2014

On December 3, 2013 at approximately 7:45 p.m., officers Eric Willoughby and Mike Clark were dispatched to the fourth floor in Scanlon Hall due to a physical disturbance. When the officers arrived, the altercation was no longer in progress and it had involved multiple people. Students Mikah Dale, Dijea Hayes, Ta’jai Garlington and Daniesha Washington were all held responsible in violation of assault and therefore were issued a one year suspension from the university. There were two groups involved in the altercation. One being of seven students and the other being six students. The group of seven students made both verbal and written statements describing what had happened. And afterwards, six more students who were involved wrote their statements as well. With similar stories as to what started the disturbance, officers Willoughby and Clark were able to determine who started the fight. According to the Missouri Western Police Case Report, Yolanda Dale 39, and Aijah Hagens 18, was the ones who started the altercation. The case report states that Dale was in Scanlon meeting with her daughter when a verbal fight became heated between Dale and Hagens in the fourth floor commons area in Scanlon. The case report also stated that both groups of students said that Dale began to waive her hand in Hagen’s face and she slapped it away. Then, Dale proceeded to assault Hagens by punching her in the face. Eleven other students then began to become involved in a larger group fight, which involved punching and kicking as well. Officers Willoughby and Clark arrested Dale and Hagens and therefore they were the primary ones who started the fight. Both were issued summonses and were taken into custody to the St. Joseph County Jail. Chief of University Police, Jonathan Kelley feels the campus police officers handled this case very well and took action accordingly. “They responded when they were notified, they gathered information and took some action that night, the case was investigated further in days following and a number of arrests were made,” Kelley said. According to Tim Kissock, risk manager, the four that were suspended were accused of assault, among other things and as for the other eleven that were involved; they were held not responsible in the code of conduct. Judy Grimes, associate vice president for student affairs handled the administrative hearing which determined the punishments for the four students who were held responsible. According to The Student Conduct Process, if a student allegedly violates University/Residence Hall Policy, an incident report is generally written, though other forms of written reports may be used.  Staff will ask students for information and document the circumstances in the incident report. Once the incident report is completed, and based upon the information provided, a decision will be made take no further action, or to have the students involved meet with a conduct officer. During the meeting with the conduct officer, students who have violated the policy will have the chance to give a plea and discuss their behavior in regards to the incident as well as examine the possible violations. Furthermore, the Student Conduct Process states that after all information has been presented, the conduct officer will assess whether there is sufficient information to determine if a student did/did not violate University/ Residential Life Policy. If the student is found responsible for violating University/ Residential Life Policy, an informal disposition will be assigned. The student will receive in writing the finding of the informal disposition and if necessary outline the sanctions assigned. According to Shana Meyer, vice president for student affairs, a letter was handed out to all the students letting them know to be aware of people entering the residential halls who shouldn’t be there. “When students see a fight they should immediately be calling 911 or getting the police or their R.A’s,” Meyer said. “We prefer for someone to get involved somehow by calling an authority so that they can take care of the situation.” The Student Code of Conduct also states that guests are expected to act appropriately in accordance with residence hall and university policy while within the residence hall complex. Failure to abide by these guidelines will result to loss of visitation privileges to certain halls or the entire residence complex and/or criminal action. It is also a student’s responsibility to make sure that their guests act appropriately whether they are an on-campus resident, Missouri Western student or a nonstudent. In failure to do so, a potential assault case could happen again like this one.