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Jenkins' Incident Raises Questions About LWC Policies

By Maia Sapp, Staff Writer

To what lengths should a higher education institution go to secure the safety and security of its students, and how much of a person's individual rights should be sacrificed for the good of the masses? These are questions that are currently on the minds of the students of Lindsey Wilson College, after an incident that occurred in Weldon Hall in January. The aforementioned incident involved an altercation between a male and female couple.

According to police and LWC staff reports, on the night of the incident, Brady Jenkins, a freshman from Tennessee, had invited his high school girlfriend, who is not an LWC student, to his dorm. They were both reportedly intoxicated. Allegedly, Jenkins' girlfriend wanted to drive home. An altercation ensued leaving the woman with some bruising around the throat, and Jenkins with scratch marks marring his face. It is unclear exactly what prompted the physical altercation, but speculation has been made that it was due to Jenkins’ attempt to keep his girlfriend from driving.

Noise from the incident caused another resident of Weldon Hall to intervene. He knocked on the door, and when Jenkins answered, the woman left for her car. In her attempt to leave the parking lot, the woman’s car collided with another vehicle. Jenkins reportedly escorted the woman from her car back to Weldon, when police arrived.

Upon arrival, the authorities asked Jenkins to take a breathalyzer test and he refused. It is procedure to take a suspect into custody if she or he refuses a breathalyzer test, therefore, Jenkins was arrested. LWC Public Safety was called to sit with the woman until a friend came to pick her up, as it was determined that she was not in need of medical attention. Unlike Jenkins, the woman was not arrested because the police did not know that she had entered a vehicle inebriated.

Jenkins official arrest charges are that of alcohol intoxication in a public place of the first and second degree. He was also charged with assault of the fourth degree, which is for minor injury.

According to LWC Dean of Students Chris Schmidt, rumors of Jenkins sexually assaulting his girlfriend were debunked by the victim herself. Both the police and Lindsey Wilson staff considered this before moving forward.

Jenkins’ court date was set.

Along with the legal repercussions of the incident, Jenkins faced disciplinary action back on campus. He was suspended indefinitely from all team activities and forced to move out of his dorm in Weldon, as well as being placed on disciplinary probation.

Following the incident, Jenkins was heavily criticized by a number of LWC students. Consequently, Jenkins had to make a decision on whether or not he would stay at LWC or leave to go home? He chose the latter, citing reasons of “social anxiety and stress.”

In hindsight, a number of students have voiced concerns about how the situation was handled by the LWC administration. Some believed that a public statement about the occurrence should have been made. Likewise, Schmidt’s decision to allow Jenkins to stay on campus was under scrutiny. At issue was whether or not someone charged with a violent crime should be allowed to

continue to live in resident halls.

In the end, Schmidt stated that the decision for Jenkins to stay on campus was a judgment call that he had to make on his own. He cited his nearly 30 years of experience in the field of post-secondary education administration to come to the conclusion that Jenkins was not a threat to the LWC student body.

Schmidt claimed that one of the factors he took into account, was the fact that Jenkins never had an infraction on his record prior to the incident. He was also very cooperative with police and administration after that night. He immediately acquiesced to receiving counseling as well as alcohol education courses. When asked to move to a different dorm, he did so without any protest. Schmidt even went to Jenkins’ coach for a character reference.

“He’s never presented a threat to anybody...”

“He’s never presented a threat to anybody,” said Schmidt. “He is sober. He is humiliated, he’s embarrassed, he is humbled, and he is a hundred percent cooperative.”

Still, many students remain critical of the decision.

One such student who had a vested interest in the outcome of the Brady Jenkins incident, is Aven Sanders.

"I think it is absurd that somebody on campus can commit a violent crime, get arrested for it, be booked and then be protected by the school..."

“I think it is absurd that somebody on campus can commit a violent crime, get arrested for it, be booked and then be protected by the school,” Sanders said.

Sanders was one of the loudest student voices that arose in response to the event. They were angry at the school's decision for Jenkins to stay on campus, believing strongly that it stemmed from his status as a football player.

Sanders is a survivor of partner abuse. The trauma that they have from that experience made them extremely uncomfortable with the school’s decision to allow Brady to stay on campus. They felt as though their safety was being compromised and that the school didn’t care.

“I haven’t been to the Caf or walked through campus alone since I heard about it,” said Sanders.

The question that has arisen from this incident from voices such as Sanders, is should there be institutional changes at Lindsey Wilson College to ensure that a situation such as this does not occur again?

Emma Peterson, an LWC senior, says “yes”. Peterson is a student who is very passionate about advocating for the kind of policy changes that she wishes to see at her school. Though she believes that these changes will likely come too late for her, as she will have graduated before their implementation, she hopes that they will make current and future Lindsey students feel safe while on campus.

Peterson has been working with Sarah Mitchell, the Director of Residence Life, as well as Heather Hurt-McAninch, the Director of the Adanta Sexual Assault Resource Center, to institute such changes.

“We’re putting together a policy, where anybody who is charged with a violent or sexual crime is immediately removed from campus housing.”

“We’re putting together a policy, where anybody who is charged with a violent or sexual crime is immediately removed from campus housing,” said Peterson. This coalition of proactive women are, currently, looking at peer institutions to see similar policies that may be adopted at LWC.

The Jenkins incident was a tumultuous one. One that had a reverberating effect on Lindsey Wilson College and its students. It is a situation that revealed how Lindsey’s staff and students would react to a case of domestic and alcohol abuse on campus.

Certainly, criticisms could be, and have been, made toward both sides of the conflict.

“I don’t defend what Brady did in one way, shape, or form,” Schmidt said, “but I certainly don’t think that it was right how other people imposed their will on something that they didn’t know about.”


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