BUCKHANNON - West Virginia Wesleyan College officials have asked local law enforcement officials to step up patrols around the campus following a weekend incident college officials are calling "an apparent group assault" involving Wesleyan and Alderson Broaddus University students.
The Buckhannon Police Department responded to a fight involving more than 20 individuals on College Avenue at approximately 1:39 a.m. Sunday, police said. The incident sent several students to area hospitals, one with a broken jaw and another with a knife wound to the arm, according to a BPD release issued Monday.
No related arrests have been made, Buckhannon Chief of Police Matt Gregory said Tuesday, but the department is continuing to investigate and take statements from individuals.
Wesleyan issued a third press release Tuesday afternoon releasing more details about the incident and emphasizing that Wesleyan students did not start the fight.
"West Virginia Wesleyan College continues to work closely with law enforcement officials as they continue their ongoing investigation into the March 23 incident that began in the front yard of the Kappa Alpha Order house, which is located adjacent to the campus," the statement reads.
"From all initial indicators, Wesleyan students acted responsibly and did not provoke the altercation. Their involvement was one of self-defense."
The release states that the incident transpired following a social event that took place at the KA House on College Avenue.
"We can confirm that several car loads of students from Alderson Broaddus University parked behind McCuskey Hall, where they proceeded to the Kappa Alpha house with a desired objective," the release reads. "Wesleyan students immediately contacted Campus Security and local law enforcement officials. When a Wesleyan student was injured, other Wesleyan students went to his defense and the altercation moved from the front lawn of Kappa Alpha Order to the side lawn of McCuskey Hall. The Wesleyan students who were injured have been released from area hospitals."
College officials stressed that Sunday's incident is out of the ordinary and not a regular occurrence on or near Wesleyan's campus.
"This is an isolated incident at Wesleyan and campus security and personal safety are always major institutional priorities," the release states. "The College has a strong campus safety record. We have communicated with all members of the Wesleyan campus community regarding this altercation and have reminded everyone to be vigilant in regards to personal safety. At the same time, we have asked local law enforcement officials and the West Virginia State Police to increase their patrols around the area where the incident occurred."
Late Tuesday afternoon, AB Director of Marketing and Communications Ashley Mittelmeier responded to Wesleyan's latest press release with a statement saying AB officials are cooperating with local law enforcement about the alleged assault.
"Alderson Broaddus University continues to work with local law enforcement agencies including the Buckhannon Police Department regarding the incident that took place on West Virginia Wesleyan College's campus over the weekend," Mittelmeier wrote. "The investigation is ongoing, therefore we have no comment at this time and we will await for information from law enforcement officials."
Anyone with information about the incident that has not already been contacted by the BPD is asked to contact an officer by calling 304-472-5723 or visiting the department's website at www.buckhannnonpolice.com.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at IMT_Kuba.