University administrators need to keep their facts straight when dealing with student issues — especially those of life and death.
Assistant Dean of Students for Fraternity and Sorority Life Jenny Levering didn’t do that. And especially since the administration hasn’t presented all the evidence it has about to the situation, it shakes our confidence in her ability to do her job.
Levering has given two different accounts of her actions before Courtland Smith, the former president of Delta Kappa Epsilon, was shot to death by police last August.
On Aug. 22, the night before Smith was killed, his fraternity held a party that violated University rules.
In her first statement, Levering said Smith called her around 1 a.m. on Aug. 23 — hours before he was killed. This is also in the report she filed before a Sept. 18 Greek Judicial Board hearing for violations at the party.
However, in her second statement given to the State Bureau of Investigation, Levering said she didn’t talk to Smith that night and that her earlier statement was incorrect.
Levering said Tuesday that she didn’t realize her mistake until she saw her phone records. Levering said that she was confused and still grieving when she first said she spoke to Smith. She said she had instead spoken to Charlie Winn — then president of the Interfraternity Council — who had spoken to Smith.
This incident certainly doesn’t connect Levering to Smith’s death. But Levering should have had her facts straight. Whether she spoke to Smith hours before he died is crucial to understanding what led to Smith’s death.
Levering’s handling of the situation was unprofessional, and the administration shouldn’t be so complacent in its support of her. They need to explain why they’re supporting her behavior.
Levering said one of the primary purposes of her job is supporting fraternity presidents. That requires their trust. That’s called into question after offering these contradictory statements about contacting Smith before he died.
Levering said, “We’ve done a lot of great work in the Greek system here, and I am extremely committed to this job and to these students.” She said that she voluntarily turned over her personal phone records. And she said both those records and her work phone records prove that she didn’t talk to Smith.
That’s not disputed.
But she’s still responsible for changing her statements.
Levering said she acts as a supporter and advocate for the Greek community. She also said that she is frequently called to be a witness in judicial board hearings because she is the one who receives complaints.
That is not a role she should continue to fulfill should her statements continue to be called into question.