FAU Trustee Angela Graham-West Explains Why She Felt Harassed; Students Call for Restraining Order Against Allen West
Graham-West seemed frustrated that "a small group of students got their way. Whatever the repercussions for other students -- higher tuition, less gifts given out -- this was decided and run up the pole. The squeaky wheel did get the grease."
But what if the protesting students saw their efforts as nonviolenet protest, and standing up for what they believe in, a la Gandhi or Martin Luther King?
Graham-West said, "But none of us knew -- I didn't know -- who these people are. I'm busy trying to do the right thing, volunteering. To be accosted... $6 million gifts don't grow on trees." She said it was not peaceful protesting "if you push your way in."
She said she would not discuss the underlying issues with anyone "if you don't conduct yourself in a rightful manner. What is it called when you make someone feel afraid for their life? It's called assault. Attempting to assault somebody through intimidation. After that happened, [discussions] were off the table. Stalking, intimidation, all that -- it takes logical arguments off the table."
So when her husband spoke out for her on Facebook and Twitter, she says, "He was just saying, 'If you've got something to say, say it to me. We'll have a man-to-man talk.'"
Graham-West did not want to discuss GEO Group's business practices nor the recent incident with professor Deandre Poole.
Asked how the university might move on from the recent string of bad publicity, she said, "I don't know... I'm bereft of ideas. I've come to the university to educate. That's my passion. All of this is distracting from the main beauty of acquiring knowledge."
Which is something the letter-writers could use a bit more of, she said: "They should be spending more time on learning how to structure sentences, not ruining my career."
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. -- Students involved in the Stop Owlcatraz movement released this statement:
The FAU administration should issue Allen West a restraining order barring him from all FAU campuses, and should release a statement affirming their commitment to students' and the greater FAU community's rights to public safety and free speech.
Allen West alleges students are "harassing" his wife, Angela West. Members of the Stop Owlcatraz Coalition, in February and March, met privately with most of the members of the FAU Board of Trustees, including Angela West. As public officials and the trustees of our university, they have a duty to be accessible and accountable to the constituencies they serve.
She agreed to a March 18 meeting at her Raymond James office in Fort Lauderdale. At that meeting, Angela became rude and aggressive and students walked out of the meeting as she began yelling at them.
Students attended yesterday's Board of Trustees meeting to hear the President and all the Trustees, not just West. There, she harassed FAU students and instructed two FAU police officers to question them about the meeting (they refused to do so). Allen and Angela West are harassing and threatening FAU students, not the other way around.