9OYS Continuing Coverage: Mass shootings in Tucson
College releases Loughner suspension documents
The notice and letter ordered Loughner to stay off campus
Reporter: Forrest Carr
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Responding to a court order, Pima Community College has released thousands of additional documents referencing its former student, mass killer Jared Lee Loughner. The new release contained no startling revelations but did fill in some blanks about the college's dealings with Loughner in the days before and after he withdrew from campus.
On the day of the January 8 mass shooting, the college revealed via press release that it had suspended Loughner in late September in the wake of a series of bizarre outbursts. According to the press release, the college informed Loughner that if he wanted to return, he would have to resolve the code of conduct commplaints against him and also obtain a statement from mental health expert certifying that he did not present a danger to himself or others.
Until Tuesday, the public had not been allowed to see either the suspension letter or the follow-up that the college mailed to Loughner a few days after he withdrew.
In that follow-up, dated October 7 2010, Vice President of Student Development Darla Zirbes informed Lougner that because of its withdrawal, the college was suspending its disciplinary investigation. "I will defer making a decision with respect to the allegations of misconduct involving you," Zirbes wrote, "and in the immediate future your records will reflect that you have withdrawn from all of your classes." But Zirbes warned Loughner that if he did want to return, he would first have to resolve the Code of Conduct issues.
The letter went on to explain that on the recommendaton of the Student Behavior Assessment Committee, Loughner was to remain off campus until and unless he could obtain a mental health clearance.
Zirbes concluded by offering to assist Loughner, writing, "... if you desire to return to College, the President's office can direct you to the Committee for further assistance concerning the mental health clearance."
The letter of suspension provided by the college, which was delivered to Lougner by hand at his home on September 30, also clears up one other issue. The college had spotted a disturbing You Tube video posted by Loughner on September 23, at a time when administrators were already investigating his earlier outbursts. The letter of suspension makes it explicitly clear that the You Tube video figured in to the suspension. The suspension notice released Tuesday bears the name of campus police chief Stella Bay at the bottom, but not her signature.
Although Zirbes stated that she defer judgment about Loughner, the campus police department had an open criminal investigation into Loughner's September 23 You Tube posting. The documents released Tuesday contain a reply by the Google internet search company, dated October 5, to a subpoena the college had served requesting information about that posting. The reply stated that the email address associated with the posting was email@example.com.
A 9 On Your Side Investigation found that after sending that October 7 letter to Loughner, the college had no further contact with him. It never followed up to see whether he had actually sought mental health assistance, and never contacted any outside law enforcement or mental health authority about Loughner. A security manual written for colleges under a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice in the wake of the Virgina Tech massacre advises just the opposite.
In the wake of 9 On Your Side's findings, Pima Community Colelge hired a full time staff psychologist to assist with student threat issues, and stated that it will reassess its security procedures in light of that Justice Department-funded advice.
Most of the rest of the documents Pima released on Tuesday consist of various news clippings and internal emails that its employees exchanged in the month of January.
Lougher remains in federal custody. A judge has ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial for now. On Tuesday the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals issued an order blocking prison authorities from forcing Loughner to take psychotropic medication..