OSU responds to student’s arrest by Oregon State Police, in which some say excessive force was used

Drone photograph of the Memorial Union Quad.

Delaney Shea, Editor-in-Chief

Oregon State University has released a statement regarding the recent arrest of a student in which the Oregon State Police used what some are calling excessive force.

OSP contracts with OSU to provide traffic enforcement on campus, extra security and access to resources, according to the OSU Public Safety website. The OSP are separate from the Corvallis Police Department. The statement, released by Steve Clark, vice president of University Relations and Marketing, reads as follows:

“We are aware of this incident initiated by the Oregon State Police and are engaged in gathering complete information about what occurred. In an effort to understand the full context of the event, we reviewed the on-line videos posted by members of the public that raised initial community concerns and reviewed on-body camera video footage of the entire episode provided by Oregon State Police. We appreciate the cooperation of Oregon State Police to share this footage.

Based upon the videos, we have considered the context and shared our views with law enforcement authorities involved in this matter. Going forward, we will ask law enforcement authorities to de-escalate situations involving OSU students.

As a matter of course, we expect all members of the OSU community to follow all local, state and federal laws. We expect law enforcement officers to conduct themselves professionally and appropriately at all times. 

Meanwhile, we will offer support services to this student and other members of the OSU community affected by this matter. We also will communicate with students involved or affected by this matter regarding services available through ASOSU office of legal services.“

De-escalation refers to the use of tactics by police to attempt to reduce the likelihood of a need for force and increase the chances of voluntary compliance. 

According to Clark, public safety officials and university leaders met to review videos of the arrest posted on social media and body cam footage, and took into account community safety and concerns, as well as the national climate before making their request to the OSP. Because OSP contracts with OSU, and is not controlled by OSU, the university will not be directly managing the officers. 

“We take seriously matters involving public safety,” Clark said. “We take seriously the services provided by law enforcement in our community. We also take seriously the concerns of members of our community. That’s why we reviewed the matter in full, that’s why we’ve taken steps to meet with law enforcement to not only understand what occurred but to ask (them to de-escalate situations involving OSU students). In today’s society, in the environment across America, it’s very important we de-escalate situations.”

According to Clark, the university has frequent discussions with law enforcement in the OSU community regarding public safety, and will encourage them to work to de-escalate situations involving OSU students as part of an ongoing process and conversation. 

Clark said the university believes there was no indication of racial bias in this matter. 

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