UI issues campus alert: Professor barred from campus

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UPDATE #1: Moscow Police confirm that there is no direct threat to campus. Acting Chief Tyson Barrett says that officers informed the university about a police report from November. The report shows that Bennett allegedly admitted to using meth and having access to firearms. The report is from a call that officers responded to regarding a domestic situation. Barrett says that Bennett is not wanted by police. Officers are trying to make contact with Bennett to serve her with formal trespassing papers banning her from campus.

UPDATE #2: UI Spokeswoman Jodi Walker says there is no direct threat to campus. The alert was issued after administrators received information from the Moscow PD. Walker says the UI issued the alert out of an abundance of caution and wanted to release the information prior to a student demonstration scheduled for this afternoon. Students will conduct a silent sit-in protest to support Bennett at Noon in the UI Administration Building.

The University of Idaho issued a Vandal Alert this morning indicating journalism professor Denise Bennett has been barred from the Moscow campus.

The full alert reads: “Denise Bennett has been barred from Moscow Campus. Recent admittance to police of meth use and access to firearms. If seen on campus, call 911.”

Bennett was placed on administrative leave effective Thursday. The tenured mass media professor has worked at the university since 2006.

UI Director of Communications Jodi Walker told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News today that Bennett’s alleged meth use only recently came to light and did not factor into the school’s decision to place her on leave last week. Walker said the decision to issue the alert was made by UI President Chuck Staben.

When asked whether the allegation of meth use in the alert exposes the university to a potential lawsuit, Walker said she “couldn’t even begin to speculate.”

“That’s not a concern at this point – safety of our students, our faculty and staff is first and foremost our priority at this point,” Walker said.