Taking a Stand: UE President Arrested

Dr. Stephen Jennings
Dr. Stephen Jennings

Last week, University of Evansville President Dr. Stephen Jennings was arrested for driving while intoxicated.  Police say his blood alcohol level was .14.  The legal limit is .08.

First, I want to tell you that I don't know Dr. Jennings.  But I am getting a number of viewer calls about the incident.

Our stand is that if Dr. Jennings is guilty of a crime, it can't be ignored.  In fact, we commend the Evansville Police Department for treating him like any other citizen.  Luckily, in this alleged incident, no one was hurt.

It was good to hear Dr. Jennings take responsibility for his actions.  He issued a statement the day after his arrest saying, "I have obviously made a very serious mistake, and I apologize to the campus community and the community at large.  I will take every necessary action to ensure that it doesn't happen again."

Jennings says since this is his first office, he will enroll in the DADS (drug and alcohol deferral service) program.  Click here to read the entire statement from Dr. Jennings.

On what happens next, will depend upon the University Board of Trustees.  If Dr. Jennings keeps his job, his message and the tone of his message will be crucial in getting back the respect of his students and the community.  For those who have lost someone to a drunk driver, it may not be possible to forgive.

We feel that if Dr. Jennings continues to be the leader for the University of Evansville, he must use this incident to show that no one is above the law and give the message that we can all learn from our mistakes.

To respond to this editorial, send an e-mail or call 812-253-0107.  You can send a letter to me at: Debbie Bush, WFIE-TV, and P.O. Box 1414, Evansville, IN 47701.