Fight in front of Zacharias Hall leads to lawsuit for WKU

Fight in front of Zacharias Hall leads to lawsuit for WKU

Cameron Koch

A confrontation between two students at Red Zone, and later in front of Zacharias Hall, has led to a new lawsuit against WKU.

Arianna Petty, a former student from Hendersonville, Tenn., is suing WKU and Michael Crowe, director of Judicial Affairs, for not taking further action to prevent a confrontation between her and another former WKU student.

Though the event itself took place in December 2010, the claim wasn’t filed until Dec. 14, 2011. Petty had one year to file a suit before time ran out.

On Dec. 15, 2010, a verbal argument broke out between Petty and DeLancia Davis, former friends, in front of Red Zone. Red Zone employees broke up the argument and contacted campus police.

Two months prior in October, a verbal argument between Petty and Davis led Petty to file a complaint about Davis. This, in turn, caused Crowe to issue a “no contact” order between the two students.

Following the verbal argument in December, campus police notified Petty and Davis that Crowe would be informed of the breaking of the “no contact” order.

The pair then returned to Zacharias, where they lived across the hall from one another.

The following day, another confrontation erupted between the two in front of Zacharias, this time leading to physical violence.

After these events, both students had administrative holds placed on their accounts and were required to meet with Crowe to be able to register for spring semester classes. Petty returned to WKU for the spring of 2011 but then transferred schools. Davis did not return to WKU.

Deborah Wilkins, chief of staff and general counsel, said that Petty willingly put herself in contact with Davis.

“She’s suing us because she said she was hurt in the fight and says we should have done something to stop it,” Wilkins said. “We didn’t do anything to cause her injuries.”

Petty’s lawyer, Michael Thompson, said that even though the order for no contact was in place, the university allowed the two students to live in the same dorm.

Thompson said Petty informed Housing and Residence Life that Davis lived across the hall from her, but still the university did nothing.

WKU said Petty never requested to be relocated from Zacharias, according to official documents.

“It’s one thing to not communicate, but she did bring it to their attention, and they still didn’t do anything,” Thompson said. “They didn’t take any action.”

Petty is suing for compensation for her mental and physical suffering and pain as well as for the medical expenses she paid as a result of her injuries.

“Ms. Petty was beat up pretty bad, is the best way to put it,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he and Petty hadn’t calculated the total amount of damages they are seeking.

WKU seeks to dismiss the case based on lack of jurisdiction and claims governmental immunity, with a hearing set for Feb. 6.