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Campus reacts to stabbing death

Staff Reporter

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 14:01

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Bob Taylor / IC

Sean Coyle, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, asks a questions during yesterday’s town hall meeting.

 

Administrators addressed questions from students and the general public Tuesday about the Dec. 19 stabbing incident that left one student dead and another seriously injured.

In a town hall meeting at the Student Union Building’s Trimble Lounge, 

President Lloyd Jacobs, Police Chief Jeff Newton and Kaye Patten Wallace, vice president for the student experience, fielded questions from audience members and those watching the live-streaming discussion online about the incident that occurred at Horton International House.  

Both Josiah Galat, 20, of Mansfield, Ohio and Erik Littleton, 19, of Detroit were engineering students living in Academic House during the fall semester. 

When police responded to the call, they found Littleton in front of the residence hall. They then found Galat dead behind the building.

Galat died due to several stab wounds to both sides of his neck, said Diane Scala-Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner. 

She said the weapon struck Galat’s jugular, resulting in a “tremendous amount of blood lost in a short amount of time.” 

Scala-Barnett said Galat also had defensive wounds on his hands, which are caused when a victim tries to shield themselves from an attack or grab the weapon.

The only remaining part of the coroner’s investigation is a toxicology report, which will not be finished for at least a few more weeks.

Patten Wallace said Littleton, who was in critical condition at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, has been released and is now recovering at home.

Administrators said neither student had any prior criminal record, and the incident was described as uncharacteristic for both of them. 

Responding to a question about a third person who was arrested that night for disorderly conduct, Newton said that person was at I-House earlier and had been visiting the two men in their room, but was not involved in the incident.

Patten Wallace said the university has assigned three counselors to help students of A-House and I-House deal with their reactions to the event.

During the meeting, students asked about the incident itself as well as the effectiveness of the UT alert system, overall campus safety, possible security changes and the issue of weapons on campus. Questions came both from students attending the meeting and from those sending in comments and questions online. 

Chief Newton said he was satisfied with the UT alert system, which was used to notify students about 40 minutes after the incident occurred, although he wishes the alerts could be sent out faster. 

Sean Coyle, a senior in chemical engineering who attended the meeting, said the response was too delayed.

Administrators said they are discussing some security changes, such as increasing the number of cameras on campus and limiting the hours that residence hall entrances are open. 

Newton said knives are not currently allowed on campus, and the weapon that was used during this incident was in violation. The panel said the administration is investigating heightening consequences for violating campus weapon policies.

Coyle said he does not agree with further restrictions.

“I think a knife is a tool not necessarily a weapon and it doesn’t bother me that some people carry them,” Coyle said. 

News Editor Danielle Gamble contributed to this story.

(This story was edited to correct a misquote about the location during the stabbing incident of the person who was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct.)

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