FAU administration ends investigation of “Jupiter 7” student protesters

Dylan Bouscher

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders drives away from a March 22 protest on the Jupiter campus moments before her side mirror brushes senior Women's Studies major Britni Hiatt. Photo courtesy of Britni Hiatt.
FAU President Mary Jane Saunders drives away from a March 22 protest on the Jupiter campus moments before her side mirror brushes senior Women’s Studies major Britni Hiatt. Photo courtesy of Forest Casey.

[This is an updated version of this story.]

The last investigation started against the so-called “Jupiter 7” protesters, who stood near FAU President Mary Jane Saunders’ car on March 22 moments before one of them was injured by her side mirror, is the first to be finished.

In a letter from the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Corey King, to senior interdisciplinary studies major and Honors College student Leslie Williams, who witnessed the accident, the Dean explained the administration’s decision.

“While the University will not be initiating any disciplinary proceedings as a result of this incident, we hope that you can appreciate the impact that the incident had on President Saunders,” King wrote.

Williams was relieved.

“I’m a graduating senior and I’m not interested in dragging this issue out any further. I think the incident has been blown out of proportion and this investigation only speaks to that,” Williams told the UP. “I truly believe they found us to be innocent, and they simply had to get the last word to satisfy the president and substantiate the claims that she has made publicly.”

Williams also wrote a statement claiming Saunders drove away from the accident without stopping, while “going the wrong way around the roundabout and not stopping or returning to see if everything was alright.” This was originally omitted from the police report of the accident, sent to the UP by FAU’s Media Relations Department on March 23.

King informed the protesters that Student Affairs opened the investigation on April 3. Although King cites specific allegations of violations of the Student Code of Conduct in the letter, he closes the letter by considering “this matter closed with no pending charges.”

The UP attempted to contact King for comment, but as of publication time, he could not be reached. His letter was sent the same day a Palm Beach Post editorial advocated not charging the students.

Accident victim and senior women’s studies major Britni Hiatt also received a letter from King.

“I think we’re all curious what is meant by ‘appreciating the impact’ especially because there is no recognition of how this has impacted all of the students involved,” Hiatt said.
Williams wants the issue to be resolved.

“It just seems it should be over now, let’s let it go and let it end on a high note instead of beating a dead horse. We should really be celebrating a victory and not dragging it down and making it a contentious issue.”

Check upressonline.com for more updates on the open FAU Police investigation of the March 22 accident, and the State Attorney’s Office investigation as they continue to unfold.