A Georgetown student said she was assaulted last Wednesday afternoon outside of Gaston Hall by a Department of Public Safety officer. Witnesses have confirmed Ciata Baysah’s (COL ’01) report claiming she was manhandled by a senior DPS officer at approximately 1 p.m. shortly after trying to leave early from a sophomore Off-Campus Orientation Session. However, DPS said she may face a conduct hearing. Sergeant Gilbert Bussey of DPS declined to comment on the situation and refused to name the officer involved. He did not want to say anything that “would be reported in your newspaper which would jeopardize her hearing.” According to Bussey, Baysah faces a conduct hearing for attempting to leave the meeting early and not complying with the officer’s request. However, Bussey was not sure of the date of the hearing and Baysah said she was unaware of any hearing at all. Baysah said that the DPS officer “grabbed my left arm and pulled me up the stairs and then pushed me into the area near the elevator [of Healy Hall]” after the meeting had ended. “I asked him to let me go but he refused and trapped me into the area like an offensive line protecting his quarterback,” said Baysah in a statement of complaint filed to Dean of Students James A. Donahue last Friday. “I saw the DPS officer and student arguing together and then I noticed that he used force to keep her there once the assembly had ended,” said Brooke Sartory (MSB ’01) who attended the meeting and witnessed the incident. Donahue has yet to respond to Baysah’s letter and Director of Student Conduct Judy Johnson refused to comment on the situation, claiming that the confidentiality of each case was of utmost importance to her office. Tiffany Conway, also of the Office of Student Conduct, refused to comment on the situation as well. Though Baysah said there was a rule prohibiting physical contact between an officer and a student, both Conway and Johnson claimed to be unfamiliar with any such rule. Baysah said she exited Gaston Hall at 12:53 p.m., seven minutes before the scheduled end of the meeting. According to Baysah, she was then detained by an unidentified man who told her that she would not receive credit for attending the mandatory meeting if she left early. Baysah said she argued that she had to go to class and that she would not be living off-campus next year anyway. The man asked for her student identification card two times, but Baysah said she refused to give it to him “since I didn’t know who he was.” She said she asked him to show her the rule that said she had to show her identification to anybody who asked. The man then called a DPS officer to stand next to Baysah, she said. “At that point, I was a bit angry and I expressed my anger to the DPS officer. He told me I was making a big deal out of nothing and I should show my ID. The DPS officer said if I didn’t have a proper ID then I was in the building illegally . I didn’t pay him any mind because I had gotten my card swiped in order to enter the meeting,” said Baysah in her letter to Donahue. A few minutes later, as students poured out of the meeting, Baysah assumed that she could leave also, she said. But the DPS officer grabbed her sweatshirt as she was walking down the stairs and pushed her into a corner by the elevator of Healy Hall, according to Baysah. The DPS officer continued asking for her ID, claiming that a student must show it to any official who asks for it. Eventually, according to Baysah, an unidentified woman who said she worked for the Office of Student Conduct showed the rule to Baysah, who then pulled out her ID and showed it to the officials. When they asked her to show it again, the DPS officer “grabbed it from me and scribbled something down,” according to Baysah. Baysah said that she was yelling at them because they were not explaining anything. “They kept telling me that I should have given the ID to the first unidentified man because he had on `official-looking clothing,'” said Baysah. The DPS officer accused Baysah of non-compliance and disturbing the peace, she said. “Why can’t they have meetings on how to fill out W4 forms or useful things?” said Baysah, who said she was upset by the “purposeless” meeting. “It was obvious that the meeting’s purpose was for the university to allow the police and neighbors to take shots at the students while we were told to sit and listen,” said Owen Halloran (GSB ’01), who attended the meeting and witnessed part of the contact between Baysah and the DPS officer. Baysah said Judy Johnson told her she would be face either community service hours or would have to repeat the meeting.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.