Six NWC student-athletes on disciplinary suspension

Posted 5/6/10

Dana Young, vice-president for student affairs and interim athletic director for Northwest College, said “six student-athletes” were placed “on disciplinary suspension for their roles in the confrontation.”

Young confirmed …

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Six NWC student-athletes on disciplinary suspension


Six Northwest College student-athletes reportedly have been dismissed following events stemming from a weekend altercation. The incident allegedly began Saturday night at an off-campus party near Ralston and later flared up outside Simpson Hall on the NWC campus. Some of the individuals also face criminal charges for their roles in the incident.

Dana Young, vice-president for student affairs and interim athletic director for Northwest College, said “six student-athletes” were placed “on disciplinary suspension for their roles in the confrontation.”

Young confirmed that three of those inviduals were Northwest College basketball players Demetrice Jacobs, 20; Valdez Green, 19; and Dwayne Patterson, 19.

Each of the three faces a charge of battery — a misdemeanor — for allegedly beating Northwest College wrestler Jesse Hillhouse outside Simpson Hall at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Hillhouse, complaining of pain and having trouble breathing, was taken by ambulance to Powell Valley Hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released.

Jacobs, Green and Patterson each pleaded not guilty at their arraignments Monday.

Young refused to identify the other three indivduals who had been suspended, citing student confidentiality, student privacy issues and a lack of criminal charges.

Northwest College head men's basketball coach Andy Ward issued a brief statement on Wednesday, calling the situation an “unfortunate incident.”

Ward confirmed Jacobs, Patterson and Green had been “dismissed from the Northwest College men's basketball program for violations of the NWC student-athlete code of conduct.”

“The code of conduct was a policy I put into place during my first stint as interim AD during the 2006-2007 academic year,” Young said. “Basically, it is a contract between the student and the athletic department. It goes hand-in-hand with the college's student code of conduct, but is slightly more restrictive because they (student-athletes) represent the college more visibly.”

Northwest College security, members of the Park County Sheriff's Department and the Powell Police Department were summoned to the area in front of Simpson Hall early Sunday morning following reports of a fight. According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the Fifth Judicial District circuit court, witnesses said the three basketball players were “hitting and kicking” Hillhouse while he was on the ground.

Northwest College wrestling coach Jim Zeigler said Hillhouse, a 2010 All-American for the Trappers, has not been dismissed from the program.

“I haven't kicked anyone off the team,” Zeigler said. “I haven't done it for years. There have been kids that haven't lived up to the expectations we have for our program, and they know when they're not welcome. I have not said that to Jesse.

“Jesse Hillhouse has not been dismissed. This was certainly conduct unbecoming, but prior to this he has never had a write-up, and he's represented Northwest College with honor. He got beat up real bad by several kids. He was a victim.”

The affidavit says that several individuals involved in the incident — including Hillhouse and a number of witnesses to the alleged beating — had been drinking. Four underage witnesses who had been drinking were going to be dealt with through the college, the affidavit says.

Jacobs also has been charged with minor in possession of alcohol.

Deputy Park County Attorney Sam Krone said that at Green, Valdez and Patterson's arraignments Monday, the defendants told the court the fight at Simpson Hall had begun as a result of derogatory racial comments. Green, Valdez and Patterson are African American.

Hillhouse told police he didn't remember much about the fight, the affidavit says.

According to Young, all six of the suspended students will be given the opportunity to make arrangements to finish out the semester at Northwest College.

“It's a shame for anyone to not be allowed to finish the semester, especially considering the point we're at in the year,” said Young.

“They can arrange with the instructors of their classes for how to finish the year … and we will help facilitate for that to happen whenever possible. Our first priority is to ensure a safe campus environment though.”

Young said she meets with all of the students in the college's athletic programs at the start of the year. Student-athletes at NWC are required to sign a form indicating that they have read the code of conduct and that they agree to adhere to it throughout the academic year.

Northwest College president Dr. Paul Prestwich noted the disciplinary suspension was a “serious sanction, and certainly not a common one” for NWC to levy.

“We have to consider the safety of the campus,” Prestwich said, noting that all six students would have the opportunity to appeal the penalty to the college's student appeals board if they chose.

According to multiple witnesses in the affidavit of probable cause, Northwest College student Isaiah Suber is alleged to have pulled a gun at an off-campus party near Ralston. Krone said that event is believed to have contributed to the on-campus melee.

As of press time, no charges had been filed against Suber.