Quite a few big-headline UCF stories came full circle this week. Here's what you need to know.
Following scandal, Nicholson school names director
Following last year’s scandal involving former Nicholson School of Communication Director Robert Chandler, a new director has been named for 2016.
Last May, Chandler resigned from his position after accusations were made against him for misusing university funds and resources. In a letter written by College of Science Dean Michael Johnson it was stated that Chandler made more than 100 authorized trips for the university for which his expenses were covered by UCF. However, Chandler was accused of utilizing a third-party to reimburse himself.
After being review by University Audit, Chandler reimbursed UCF with approximately $30,000, but Johnson, who referred to his actions as “double-dipping,” said it was impossible to accept Chandler’s sloppiness.
In Chandler’s absence, College of Sciences Associate Dean Arlen Chase served as interim director. After a series of interviews, NSC named Robert Littlefield the new director, who will start his position in August. Littlefield is currently a communication professor at North Dakota State University.
OCSO finds officers used reasonable amount of force in Deidra Reid case
After a five-month investigation, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office concluded that officers used a reasonable amount of force in Deidra Reid and Reginald Lane Jr.’s excessive force claim.
Last July, Reid was arrested for resisting an officer with violence and trespassing at The Retreat after being warned to leave. According to reports, she tried to enter The Retreat’s clubhouse to see a friend and utilize the computer lab, but could not enter because she was not a resident. After yelling at a child to let her in, the child retrieved his father, off-duty OCSO Sgt. Brett Parnell, who was also one the apartment’s courtesy officers.
Parnell claimed that Reid was a “level 5/Aggressive Physical Resistance,” meaning the subject may cause harm, but is not likely to cause death. Reid continued to resist Parnell and backup OCSO Deputy 1st Class Richard Nye.
She claimed that officers attacked her, and “pushed me up against the floor while sitting on my back and twisted my shoulder out of place while I was already in handcuffs.”
Officers made multiple attempts to subdue both Reid and Lane, who began acting aggressively.
Charges were dropped against Lane in September, and Reid’s were dropped in December. Both subjects failed to provide investigators with evidence of injury or video evidence of the incident.
Chloe’s Law makes progress
Chloe’s Law made it through a Florida House Subcommittee this week. The law would require the Department of Transportation to install protective barriers around retention ponds and bodies of water on Florida’s highways
Friends and family of Chloe Arenas, who died in June 2015 from blunt trauma to her head and neck after crashing into a retention pond on Alafaya Trail, petitioned for the barriers.
In October 2015, Chloe’s Law was announced to the state legislature. Republican State Representative Rene Plasencia and Democratic State Sen. Darren Soto worked with UCF’s SGA to push for the law to pass. At SGA’s recent visit to the Tallahassee, students and members of SGA lobbied with state legislators to support Chloe’s Law.
Moving forward, the bill still has to see several additional committees and needs approval from the House and the Senate in a floor vote. The bill will then be presented to the governor.
Rosie Reitze is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @rosie_ucf or email her at RosieR@centralfloridafuture.com.