NCCU students want accused classmate readmitted


October 6, 2011 7:41:52 PM PDT
Some North Carolina Central University students are calling on university leaders to readmit a student who is accused of assault. Protestors gathered Thursday to voice their opinions.

Classmates claim senior Roddrick Howell suffers from bipolar disorder, and Howell says the university's investigation and punishment are unfair.

Howell's alleged victim says she doesn't feel safe with him around. The alleged assault happened in the university library in August.

Howell's supporters say the school wasn't fair in its investigation and disciplinary hearings.

"I want to see Roddrick reinstated or at least given a fair trial," protestor Tyrone Jones said. "I don't understand why that wasn't the case in the first place."

"We're in support of Rod being readmitted into the school," protestor Nigel Hood added. "We're not disputing whether or not he was wrong for grabbing this victim."

However, Maya Brown says Howell did more than grab her.

"My mouth was covered," she said. "My phone was covered when I was trying to call 911. You know what I'm saying? He was on top of me literally."

Howell denies what brown says happened. He says he was having a manic episode with flashbacks and clung to her for help.

Howell says he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after he was arrested and taken to the hospital.

"If somebody has a seizure, and they branch out and punch someone in the face, should they be kicked out of school for that?" Howell asked.

He provided ABC11 a letter from a doctor at the university's counseling center who supported his efforts to return to class, but the university says its decision had to take into account the safety of others.

Howell says he has one more chance to appeal the university's decision. In the meantime, he says his life remains on hold.

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