Throughout the decade, ESU has had some major campus moments that have shaped the university. From Grammy-nominated artists performing on campus to crimes that have left students shaken, here are some of the top news stories to hit ESU over the decade.
12. Panic! At the Disco Performs in Mattioli (2016)
According to the former Arts and Entertainment Editor Laura Shook, students definitely got their money’s worth out of the 2016 Panic! At the Disco concert. The concert, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB) was packed with students. The band performed numerous songs including some classics such as “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies” and “Nine in the Afternoon.” The band even covered the iconic Queen’s song “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
11. Welsh Becomes the First Female President of ESU (2012)
Marcia Welsh replaced Robert Dillman in 2012 becoming the 13th president and first female president of ESU. “I am tremendously excited to get to be part of the East Stroudsburg Community. I think it’s a great opportunity for me and a good fit,” she told the Pocono Record.
10. Hawthorn RA Admitted to Setting Fires and Took Credit for Putting Them Out (2010)
Ryan Burke, 19 at the time, was charged with arson, endangering persons, property and recklessly burning an object, after lighting several fires in Hawthorn over the course of a week. According to the Pocono Record, Burke told authorities that he lit seven separate fires in his dorm’s bathrooms, stairwells and laundry room on two separate occasions and in certain cases, he took credit for “discovering” and extinguishing the fires.
9. Campus Police Officer Charged with Narcotics (2015)
Matthew Brill, former campus police officer, was arrested and charged with unlawfully obtaining 900 prescription pain pills, according to Amy Lukac, the former Stroud Courier editor. The Pocono Record states that Brill had visited 19 doctors and 16 pharmacies to fill prescriptions over a 15-month period, and Investigators found he had also gone to emergency rooms on 14 occasions and urgent care centers nine times. According to the article, Police said Brill told at least one doctor he was a state trooper who needed Tramadol, a painkiller, “because he was sore from the long hours of searching for suspected police killer Eric Frein.”
8. Faculty Strike (2016)
The first labor strike in the Pennsylvania State System broke out after the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), and Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) failed to make an agreement among faculty contracts. As of September 2016, faculty were still working under the previous contract that expired in June 2015. According to Oliver Trojack, former staff writer for the Stroud Courier, some of the areas of contention include compensation, healthcare, adjustments in workloads, hiring qualifications, use of adjuncts and policy on distance education. The strike started on Tuesday, Oct. 17 and lasted three days. ESU’s faculty were seen holding signs at the front of the campus chanting “What do we want? Contract! When do we want it? Now!”
7. The Hunt for Eric Frein (2014)
In late September of 2014 ESU’s website had a safety warning for students: “Reports from State Police have not changed. They continue to search for Eric Frein in an area between Barrett and Price Townships. The area is a distance away from ESU. Frein is considered armed and dangerous and all individuals living or traveling through that specific area are asked to use caution.” Frein, who is considered a terrorist, shot two state troopers with a .308 caliber rifle. One trooper, Corporal Bryon K. Dickson II was killed during the attack and Trooper Alex Douglass was injured. Police went on a manhunt until Frein was captured on Oct. 30. He was convicted of terrorism, murder and attempted murder in April 2017 and sentenced to death.
6. Denny Douds announcing retirement after 53 years at ESU (2018)
With four seconds left in the Warrior’s football game against Ohio Dominican University, head coach Denny Douds called a time out. According to the Morning Call, Douds huddled his team together and said “Hey, I’m hanging up my whistle, I love you guys and I’m out of here,” then he walked across the field, shook hands with the opposing team then walked to his car. Douds spent 53 years at ESU, 45 of which he was the head football coach. “I got in my car,” he told the Morning Call, “and smiled all the way home.”
5. Town Hall Meeting (2018)
After the murder of Richard LaBar, Dominio’s Pizza delivery driver and the stabbing of an ESU student, students were feeling a bit on edge. To ease that edge, a town hall meeting was organized, but the meeting seemed to raise more frustration. Students and some faculty members shared their concerns about safety on campus, campus police, the shuttle and overall lack of communication between students and the administration. However, one of the standout moments from the meeting was when Shaquwan Davis-Boone, the student who was stabbed just two months before the town hall, shared his frustration towards the University for not reaching out to him and how unsafe he now feels on campus. After exiting the town hall, students pushed for answers for Davis-Boone in which President Welsh replied that she “knew there was a victim” but didn’t know who he was.
4. ESU Professor and addiction counselor charged with selling heroin (2016)
Tara Bealer, a former sociology professor at ESU was arrested for drug trafficking after being caught with bags of heroin in her home in 2016. According to the Pocono Record, Bealer was charged with four counts of drug possession with intent to deliver, six counts of drug possession, 71 counts of drug paraphernalia possession, two counts of marijuana possession and one count of endangering a child’s welfare by selling drugs with a child in the home. “I was surprised at first, but thinking about all of the days she had missed it kind of started to make sense,” said Kathleen Cameron, a former student of Bealer’s and former editor-in-chief of the Stroud Courier. “Her TA never knew if she was going to show up either. We would come for the necessary 15 minutes and then leave and then we would get an email later in the day with an excuse as to why she didn’t show up.”
3. The case of Isaac Sanders (2009-2019)
On Feb. 13, 2009, a total of six students filed a lawsuit against Isaac Sanders, former ESU vice president of institutional advancement, stating that he sexually assaulted them, according to staff writer Ayanna Totten. Sanders allegedly used scholarships, gifts, and campus jobs as means for assaulting the victims starting back in 2007 according to Richard MacTough, former staff writer for the Stroud Courier. Sanders was found not guilty of sexual assault and harassment in 2014, but the case did not stop there. In 2018, Sanders stated he was suing the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) for $50 million due to “public lynching” he faced after being accused of sexual assault. Then, in September of 2019, he was accused of molesting actor Hosea Chanchez of the hit show “The Game.” In an emotional Instagram post, Chanchez stated that Sanders, who was a friend of his father, diverted to a dirt road and forcibly performed oral sex on him. “I asked God to help me become the best me I can be,” Chanchez said in his Instagram post, “and in the process, allow my life to inspire, uplift and heal someone else’s pain and trauma.”
2. The stabbing of an ESU student on Shawnee Quad (2018)
Around 10 p.m., Shaquwan Davis-Boone was walking from the Mattioli Recreation Center when he was approached by a group of males and two females. They got into a physical and verbal altercation which led to Davis-Boone being stabbed twice, once in the side and again in the back. The assailants, Dyshawn Mack, 23, Tyrone Wilkins, 28, Jamari Dortch, 21, Quincy Roden, 18, Shavelle Mills Jr., 20, and Francesco Reid Jr., 20, were charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault. The six men admitted that they did not know Davis-Boone before assaulting him. They had been on the hunt for the “Philly boys” who had gotten into an incident with one of the women earlier in the day. They did not find the men they were looking for and instead, after asking Davis-Boone if he was from Philly, assaulted him before Davis-Boone fled to the University Center.
1. The Murder of Richard LaBar (2017)
Around 1 a.m. on December 11, 2017, a shot went off near Kemp Library. According to a Monroe County District Attorney press release, Richard LaBar, 58, was shot with a .410 gauge shotgun above his right eye on Dec. 11 around 1 a.m. LaBar fled in an ambulance in critical condition. After finding no brain activity, his life support was pulled only a few days after.
Israel Berrios, 17, Carolina Carmona 30, and Salvador Roberts, 21, were arrested and charged with orchestrating the robbery and murder of LaBar, none of which were ESU students. Months later, officers discovered that Berrios and Roberts were connected to a string of robberies and burglaries on and around campus as well.
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