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Police: IWU student made threats

BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

An Indiana Wesleyan University student has been arrested and has been ordered by law enforcement to stay off campus after reportedly making threats toward residents of a dorm.

A university official confirmed the student’s identity as Zachary Sparks, 19, Monon.

Sparks was arrested Monday night and booked into the Grant County Jail on a charge of intimidation, a Level 5 felony. He was released the next day on a cash bond.

Brandon Hill, vice president for life calling and integrative learning at IWU, said the university wouldn’t release specifics about the alleged threat, how the threat was communicated or how the university learned of the threat.

However, Hill did confirm the threat was directed toward South Hall, a men’s dorm.

An email alert to the IWU community sent by Campus Chief of Police Chad Beights said campus police learned of the threat at 5 p.m. Monday and “immediately began an investigation and met with the alleged student.”

“It was determined that threats were made, but no physical evidence was found to substantiate the threats,” Beights wrote in the email.

Hill said no students were in danger during the investigation or the response to the alleged threat.

Hill said the university is currently in the process of a “student conduct response” that will determine what potential disciplinary measures will be taken.

“Any time something like this happens, we have an emergency management team that goes into action,” Hill said, explaining the team includes campus police, residence life staff, the counseling office and others.

Hill said FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, prevented him from going into more detail about the student or the investigation.

Beights did not return a Wednesday afternoon voicemail requesting more information.

Hill asked the IWU community to quickly speak up about threats in the future.

“I think it’s extremely important for the community to know, and students to know, if they hear of a threat it’s important for them to report that as soon as possible,” Hill said.