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Scuffle in the Lion's Den

By Jessica Lewis and Lisa DiCarlucci, News Editor and Entertainment Editor

At a March 17 men's basketball tournament one student, Josh Seiden, was arrested and charged with assault in the third degree on a public safety officer. Multiple public safety reports were filed concerning disorderly conduct by the students in attendance at the game. Several student witnesses have confirmed that numerous students were thrown out of the game prior to Seiden.

Seiden told the Chronicle that he, "cannot do that [comment to the Chronicle], it is because of my lawyer."

According to the public safety report Seiden was taken out of the arena for jumping over the railing that separates the basketball court and the fan section. The report also states that students in the particular section were previously warned to stay off the railing and not to cross it. 

According to the student witnesses, the warning from public safety spurred from another student's actions. The name of this student has not been confirmed. This particular student was said to have been standing on the railing, according to junior, Chelsea Furlong, Seiden's girlfriend. "When we came in he [the aforementioned student] was getting dragged out by his shirt very aggressively, nothing like I had ever seen before," Furlong said, "…We were then told that they [public safety] told him not to stand on the railing. He had said sorry and then he did it [stood on the railing] again when the team came out."

A public safety report, separate from that of Seiden's arrest, details another student being removed from the game for standing on the railing and being "verbally abusive toward the officers." The report does not identify the student and it has not been confirmed that it refers to the same student Furlong speaks of. 

Furlong confirmed that another student at the game, junior Dan Meister, came to the defense of his friend, the unconfirmed student, who had just been removed from the game. Meister said in an email that public safety removed his friend "by the neck." Meister than yelled at public safety and was subsequently removed from the game also.  ‘I went to the health and wellness center and filed a complaint," Meister said, "and showed them bruises and a cut on my neck."

There is no public safety report that specifies details of Meister's ejection from the game, nor has anyone from public safety confirmed this event. 
Furlong said that later on a student, senior Justin Griffin dropped his cell phone over the railing. "I didn't get it [the cell phone] because when [the first unconfirmed student] got kicked out, I jumped down [over the railing] to talk to the security guard," Griffin said. Public safety had previously warned Griffin that if crossed the railing he would be removed from the game. According to Griffin, he attempted to get the attention of the public safety officers but they did not respond. 

"Josh [who was standing near Griffin at the game] told me he would get my phone," Griffin said.

Senior Libby Mishler, another student at the game said that she saw Seiden retrieve the phone and be approached by public safety. "Public safety came over and grabbed him by his shirt," Mishler said,"…he resisted leaving but there was no reason to grab him by his shirt collar."

According to the public safety report, Seiden was taken out of the arena for jumping over the railing after previously being warned not to do so. Also according to the report, while outside, Seiden began to urinate on a bush outside the arena and exposed himself to public safety. This caused public safety to put him in handcuffs. 

Furlong said that Seiden pretended to urinate, but did not actually do so. 
Public safety also asked for Seiden's student ID, and according to Furlong it was left at a friend's house off campus. Furlong also said that public safety told them that since Seiden did not have a Student ID, he would be treated as a non-student.

According to the public safety report, when Seiden's hands were released from the handcuffs, he cocked his right hand back and struck one public safety officer in the head and another public safety officer on the left side of his face. Both of these officers were later taken to the Nassau University Medical Center and treated for their injuries. 

According to Furlong, Seiden had requested that public safety remove the handcuffs and they agreed. Furlong said that when the handcuffs were removed, Seiden pushed a public safety officer because he wanted space from the five officers surrounding him. When Seiden pushed the public safety officer Furlong said that he was immediately thrown to the ground and put back in the handcuffs. 

Director of public safety, John O'Malley, said "I have not received any complaints about harassment by public safety." O'Malley later told The Chronicle that "contact [between public safety and students] is supposed to be minimal…depending on the circumstances."

Public safety then took Seiden into custody and told Furlong and the friends she was with that they could pick him up later. After waiting several hours, Furlong and her friends went to the public safety building. According to Furlong she saw, "Josh in handcuffs with the police."

The police then explained to them that Seiden was being arrested with assault and that he would have to spend the night in jail. 

"Thursday Josh was on campus. His dad posted bail," Furlong said. Seiden returned to campus to attend classes, but when public safety discovered that he was on campus, he was located and informed that he was banned from campus.

There is a hearing scheduled for the Monday following the spring recess according to Furlong.

Junior Josh Seiden struggles with public safety officers at the men’s CBI tournament game against IUPUI on March 17 at the Mack Sports Complex. (Sean M. Gates/The Chronicle )

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