Students question basketball players’ punishment

By on October 5, 2011

Penalties from the state for men’s basketball players Ike Azotam and James Johnson likely won’t be severe. While the university continues its investigation of the Sept. 18 altercation, students are speaking out about their desire for transparency in how Quinnipiac’s administration is dealing with the basketball players’ punishment.

Scott Ostrander, a sophomore athletic training major, is one of the many students on campus who finds no justice in Quinnipiac’s secrecy.

“They basically jumped the kid, got arrested, but the school doesn’t do a goddamn thing about it,” Ostrander said.

The university cannot comment on ongoing investigations per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, which states that a student must give consent to the university prior to the disclosure of educational records.

Azotam and Johnson were arrested following a fight with students 3 a.m. Sept. 18. Both players were charged with third-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace. Hamden police made no other arrests.

Attorney and Quinnipiac professor Eroll Skyers predicts the harshest punishment the basketball players could face is probation and paying the price of court and an attorney.

“As long as they have never had any prior criminal history, I don’t expect they will spend a day in jail,” Skyers said.

The players’ defense attorney Thomas Lynch told the Chronicle that Azotam and Johnson had clean records prior to said altercation.

Connecticut law states that breach of peach in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor. A breach of peace includes activities that engage fighting, violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior, or assaulting another in a public place.

The law defines a public place as any area that is used or held for use by the public, whether owned or operated by public or private interests.

While neither Johnson nor Azotam will face jail time, many students expect the university to take appropriate disciplinary action on the two.

“I think they should approach the situation as if it was any other student,” senior Brian Reilly said. “The administration should be more transparent about its decisions especially since they are supposed to be respondent and accountable to us students.”

Junior Mike Messina said they should face a harsh punishment.

“I think they should be expelled or miss half the season,” Messina said.

However, some students are worried that the punishment will not be strong enough. After Azotam and Johnson posted bail of $5,000 each, the university allowed them to continue attending classes.

“They’re stupid and should be suspended or kicked off,” junior Brad Degnan said. “But they’ll probably get off anyway.”

Rachel Lee, a sophomore health sciences major, said the university will let the players off easily.

“How are they not going to get in trouble at all? But God forbid a regular student gets caught with a beer can in their hand, they lose every right they have,” Lee said.

In November 2006, two freshman basketball players, Trevon Charles and James Feldeine, were charged with second-degree unlawful restraint and breach of peace after urinating on a female student’s leg.

As punishment from the school, Charles and Feldeine were dismissed from their housing in the Dana residence hall. At the time, the victim stated the university failed to penalize the basketball players.

Charles was later suspended from the basketball team and found guilty for fourth-degree sexual assault and second-degree unlawful restraint and breach of peace. Feldeine was at the home opener in November and played limited minutes in following games.

Comments

About Marissa Himbele and Jenn Lepore

6 Comments

  1. Student

    October 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Explain to me how lacross players are suspended from the university for one year for having a party at a NON-Quinnipiac owned house and receiving a noise complaint. But 2 basketball players are charged with assualt on Quinnipiacs campus and sent a student to the emergency room have receive no punishment?….

    • Jacobb

      October 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      White vs. Black.

      QU doesn’t want Al Sharpton on campus preaching his bullshit.

      • Morry

        October 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

        Trevon Charles was NOT found guilty: both were put on AR, and charges dropped. So Chronicle, get your facts right. I don’t think these students should be expelled, nor should have Feldeine or Charles that would be ridiculous: expulsion should only be for permanent and premeditated damage, rape, or deliberate substantial damage to college infrastructure. Let’s face it: fights happen all the time. And suspension should not be used for lax parties either. I def think maybe housing suspension or weekend suspension, OK, and if another fight, worse.

    • sucks

      October 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      BOTH the Lax guys and the bball guys should be given “slaps on the wrists” I’ve witnessed many fights and worse at this school when students have gotten off easily.kids will have parties and drink (Yes even freshman!!) QU is submitting to the “pussification of america!!!”

  2. Jessie M.K

    October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    People are blowing this out of proportion. It was a fight, but it was premeditated. But still, think about what these kids probably went through in the ghetto before coming here?

  3. JW

    October 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    They were found not guilty in the court of law. They hold more power than QU. Secondly, they paid a hefty fine. Thirdly, why does the article only present one side? What kind of journalism is that?Or is the Chronicle openly against them? Fourthly what is a breach of preach? The case was taken to the law and they were found not guilty. The only punishment that should they recieve is from their coach now. Can you people stop the hate? Where is the article about the kids who urinated on a CHURCH in new haven? If it was the basketball team it would be in here. What about the community work they do? Where is the positivity? You guys are sad and full of hate. To the guy who made a comment about them going through things in the ghetto…so what?