May 07 2008
Economics sophomore Justin McCelvey was arrested Saturday morning after some of his friends reported apparent Virgina-Tech style threats to UTPD. This is a third degree felony with jail time ranging from 2-10 years if convicted. McCelvey is currently suspended from the UT campus and is in the process of expulsion.
McCelvey told his friend, “College ruined my life” and “I wish I could go into a classroom and shoot everybody.” I was almost the second sniper on the Tower” and “I wish I could sit on top of a bomb and let it go off and blow up everybody.” The conversation lasted 20 to 30 minutes and the friend was obviously concerned. McCelvey does owna shotgun he uses to go hunting, but never brought it on campus. This is just a few weeks after the April 15 arrest of engineering sophomore Jason Liao, who allegedly possessed a gun on campus.
The system is obviously working, but at the same time, is it too easy to report someone. I definitely think this is a case to be investigated, but to immediately work to expel the kid without an in-depth investigation? I guess the university has to do this otherwise parents and students would be outraged, but what does it take to arrest a student? It seems that you can report a threat to the UTPD hotline and get someone arrested that you don’t like, especially during a time like now, during finals. Then the student is expelled from school without a real investigation. It seems that from the comments this was definitely a case to look into, but how often do tey turn away reports? That said, it’s really irresponsible to say something like that to that depth and detail, even if it is a joke.
Also, this brings up the controversial pursuit by some groups for guns on campus. With these two cases within just a few weeks of each other, would people react to these threats as much. Would either of these students have brought weapons on campus before or more often with such a law passed and possibly acted on their alleged threats? Luckily, we won’t have to find out.