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UI officials respond to professor’s arrest and release for unauthorized videotaping

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UI officials respond to professor’s arrest and release for unauthorized videotaping

Photo courtesy of Champaign County Jail booking

Photo courtesy of Champaign County Jail booking

Photo courtesy of Champaign County Jail booking

University officials and faculty members are responding to the arrest and release of College of Media professor Jay Rosenstein for “unauthorized videotaping.”

Rosenstein allegedly admitted to the University of Illinois police that he was following and videotaping Ivan Dozier, president of the “Honor the Chief Society” and former Chief Illiniwek portrayer, in a bathroom at the State Farm Center on Monday.

“He (Rosenstein) indicated to us that he felt a journalistic responsibility that he had to record what was going on at that time,” said UIPD spokesman Pat Wade, but declined to confirm the victim of the incident.

Senior in ACES and current Chief Illiniwek portrayer Omar Abraham Cruz Aranda attended the game with Dozier. He was planning to make a Chief appearance at the game and was preparing to change in a stall when Rosenstein came in.

He said he wasn’t sure if Rosenstein knew about his planned Chief appearance, but that Dozier had bumped into Rosenstein earlier at the game.

Aranda criticized Rosenstein’s actions not facing criminal charges.

“This man has no decency… Who in the right mind would allow someone to go free of charge?” Aranda said.

Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs Robin Kaler said in a prepared email that Rosenstein is being placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the allegation.

“If the allegations against Prof. Rosenstein are accurate, they do not comport with the university’s Code of Conduct,” she said.

Kaler added that video recording individuals in a public restroom without their permission is an unacceptable violation of personal privacy.

“We will not comment publicly on the details of the investigation, but the outcome of that process once it is completed is likely to be considered by law public information,” Kaler said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rosenstein was released and no longer participating of an arraignment hearing.

“We are declining to file charges at this time,” State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said at a conference. “The criminal justice system is not the place to gain an advantage for one side or the other on a public debate.”

Aranda said that he and Dozier are speaking to their lawyers about further action with this incident.

“This is definitely the second time an issue like this has happened. The first one is with homecoming parade, the University not being vocal or doing anything about this. Let’s see what the University is going to do about this issue. But (this is) definitely something we’re going to take a look into with our lawyers,” Aranda said.

University lecturer and Illinois Board of Higher Education member John Bambenek condemned this decision to release Rosenstein in a press release.

“I was shocked and appalled to hear the news last evening that a tenured faculty member filmed a student from my own campus going to the bathroom in bizarre attempt at intimidation over a political disagreement,” Bambenek said. Dozier, the alleged victim, is a former University student and works at Research Park.

Bambenek believes Rietz’s reasoning to release Rosenstein is an “offensive and a thinly veiled declaration that the rule of law has been suspended and its open season to harass, intimidate, and engage in acts of violence against those with whom you disagree.”

Bambenek called for Rietz to resign and for the Champaign County Court to appoint “a special prosecutor who will protect students from pervert professors,” and to terminate Rosenstein’s employment.

“If we are to treat academic freedom, free debate, free speech and any of the principles of high education seriously, there can be no other outcome on this matter,” he said.

Dozier said that Rosenstein has followed and filmed him in the past. Aranda added that Ivan and Rosenstein have “clashed heads” multiple times in the past.

“My initial reaction when I first saw Jay at the stadium was, ‘Oh boy, here comes trouble,” Dozier said.

He said that Rosenstein’s behavior is not to be tolerated.

Rosenstein is a longtime opponent of the Chief’s use in sports and created the documentary “In Whose Honor?” addressing the issue.

Emails and phone calls to Rosenstein did not result in a comment at the time of publication.

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