Hate crimes

An Ohio University Student Said She Received Death Threats. The Police Think She Sent Them Herself.

The Student Senate has no regrets, will continue to believe survivors.


Ed! / Wikimedia Commons

Police have arrested an Ohio University student and charged her with three counts of making false reports. The student, Anna Ayers, claimed to have received death threats and other harassing messages referencing her LGBTQ status, but the authorities now believe she sent those messages herself.

Ayers entered a not-guilty plea last Wednesday, according to The Post. She faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

Ayers was a member of the Student Senate, but she has since resigned from that position. Her claim was initially presumed to be true, and the Student Senate cancelled a meeting with the mayor of Athens, Ohio, in order to give Ayers a chance to address the community. Her remarks included a condemnation of the Student Senate itself, The Post reports:

"Senate will never be the same for me," Ayers said. "The friendships will continue to grow, and our successes will always evoke pride, but the memory of my time in senate and at OU will be marred by this experience. We will all have a memory of a time when this body failed one of its own."

Ayers also addressed the writer of the note directly, saying she hoped that person was in the room. She called that person weak, cowardly and worthless.

"You may find me revolting and worthy of a threat on my life, but in reality, it is your beliefs that are repulsive," Ayers said. "You need to get this through your head, you f—|ing a–hole: I am proud to be who I am, and nothing you could say or do will ever change that."

Despite the revelation that the authorities now believe Ayers sent the threats to herself, Student Senate President Maddie Sloat said the Student Senate will not "change its commitment to believing survivors."

"It's important for you to know that I do not, for one second, regret any of the actions we took in the past week to support Anna on the information that we had at the time," said Sloat, according to The Post. "Know that if you report something…we will listen. We will believe you. We care about you."

Listening is one thing. Believing is quite another, especially when it comes to dubious campus bias incidents.