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UT officials address students’ questions, concerns at a town hall meeting about December stabbing


Jeff Newton, left, UT police chief, fields questions during a town-hall meeting for students to discuss the fatal stabbing at a campus residence hall as Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, UT president, listens.

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It could be weeks before University of Toledo officials are able to paint a clear picture of what happened inside an on-campus residence hall that led to the death of one student and the critical injury of another, but Tuesday school leaders tried to address students’ questions and concerns at a town-hall style meeting.

The meeting was called to address students’ concerns about the Dec. 19 altercation inside the Horton International House, where Josiah Galat, 20, of Mansfield, was stabbed to death and Erik Littleton, 19, of Detroit, was critically injured.

Mr. Galat, a senior, died of two stab wounds, one to each side of his neck. His death was ruled a homicide.

Mr. Littleton, a sophomore, spent weeks in a hospital where he was treated for “very serious, critical injuries,” Jeff Newton, University of Toledo police chief, said before the town hall. “He very easily could have died.”

No charges have been filed. The weapon, described as a hunting knife, was recovered at the scene, although it’s not clear to whom the knife belonged.

Chief Newton said that, at the time of the assault, police were not able to talk to Mr. Littleton because of his injuries, although the chief declined to elaborate on what the injuries were.

He also urged people to “not make any kind of predeterminations as to what happened. I know there might kind of be the tendency, ‘Well, one guy survived and one guy did not, but that doesn’t mean we know what happened in that stairwell.”

Mr. Galat and Mr. Littleton, who chose to live together during the break, had spent the day together, and, at one point, were joined by Alexander Vogel, 18, who was signed into the building by Mr. Littleton. When police reached the hall they found Mr. Vogel naked and agitated. He was taken to a hospital for medical treatment and then was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge.

Chief Newton said Mr. Vogel, a former student, did not witness the fight and “had absolutely no knowledge of what happened.”

One student, Nick McCullough, a freshman studying political science, asked if drugs or alcohol were factors.

“I can’t answer that now,” Chief Newton said, adding that he was waiting for toxicology results. They could be available from the Lucas County Coroner’s Office sometime in the next two to three weeks.

Other students had safety concerns: Will more cameras be installed on campus? Will new policies be implemented against having knives on campus? Why was there a 40-minute delay in sending out an emergency text alert?

Chief Newton said knives are already not allowed on campus. As to the text alert, Chief Newton said he initially wondered about the time that passed between the incident being reported at 9:01 p.m. and the text message going out about 40 minutes later but, after review, he thought appropriate action was taken.

After the meeting, several students said they felt satisfied with the information that the university has provided about the incident.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at:tdungjen@theblade.comor 419-724-6054, or onTwitter @taylordungjen.

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