Altercation spills out of Oppenheimer

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District police and student affairs administrators gather information on an incident in Oppenheimer Wednesday.  Photo by Riley Stephens

District police and student affairs administrators gather information on an incident in Oppenheimer Wednesday. Photo by Riley Stephens

“Interim disciplinary action” is issued to two students and more are under investigation.

By FAITH DUARTE 

fduarte3@student.alamo.edu

A verbal altercation among four to 15 students that began around noon Wednesday in the lobby on the first floor of Oppenheimer Academic Center and moved outside the building is under investigation by college officials and district police.

Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student affairs and interim vice president of academic affairs, said Thursday that two students have been given “interim disciplinary action” and college officials and the Alamo Colleges Police Department continue to investigate the incident.

More individuals could receive disciplinary action pending the outcome of the investigation, Vela said. The investigation is expected to take a week.

“I suspect that there will be more, but we need to really make sure that the investigation and the facts are there before we begin the disciplinary process on others,” he said. “Sometimes, we have to act immediately as a result of the situation.”

The number of participants has not yet been determined, but Vela estimated that about four students were initially involved and up to 15 students could have participated.

Vela would not say what the code of conduct violation was, but he said there was no physical altercation.

“With any verbal altercation, it could be abusive language, to threats, to intimidation. It could be a whole array of things,” Vela said.

Although officials would not give details on the verbal altercation, about 10 police officers, including Chief Don Adams, responded to the call, and police officers blocked entrances to the first floor of Oppenheimer to everyone but students on their way to class.

Vela and Manuel Flores, student conduct officer, also responded to the situation.

Maricela Ramon, lab technician in the foreign languages lab, said Wednesday she was told by campus police to clear the first floor of the building.

After the altercation, participants were separated into three groups — two in classrooms and one in the conference room of the foreign languages and philosophy department — as officials attempted to sort out what had happened.

“It’s more of trying to piece the puzzles together,” Vela told The Ranger Wednesday after the incident. “Any time there’s a code of conduct violation, we address it very swiftly.

“The police are investigating that to see who exactly was involved,” Vela said.

He said no arrests were made Wednesday, but “that doesn’t mean through the course of the investigation that arrests won’t be made.”

President Robert Zeigler issued a statement to students and employees by email Thursday confirming disciplinary action and the ongoing investigation.

To report any suspicious activity on campus, call the 24-hour police dispatch at 210-485-0099. For non-emergencies, call the police at 210-485-0099.

Riley Stephens and Carlos Ferrand contributed to this story. 

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