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Gun at ASU leads to eviction from dormitory

ALBANY -- An Albany State University student has been evicted from campus housing after taking a gun onto the campus, according to school officials.

Lauren Nicole Andrews, 20, says she was not aware when she brought the gun on campus because her male friend put it in her purse without telling her.

That does not matter, said Everette Freeman, university president.

"The existing policy is that there can be no weapons, concealed or otherwise on campus," Freeman said. "The issue is that she brought a gun on campus. That the gun was put in her purse off campus has no bearing on the rules and regulations of this institution."

The punishment, eviction from the dormitory until the summer session, is appropriate, Freeman believes. Andrews is free to apply for a dormitory room for the summer session and next fall's session, he added.

Andrews can stay registered and take classes, Freeman said. It is hoped that the cheerleader who has a 3.1 grade point average will continue her academic career at ASU, Freeman added.

That doesn't please Andrews' mother, Ava Andrews.

"She didn't know she had the gun. The boy that put the gun in her purse admitted it, but he wasn't punished," Andrews said. "A school employee gave my daughter the gun back and told her to take it off campus and that would be it."

Andrews is also upset about the way the whole case was handled.

There was no hearing, she said.

There was, however, a written series of explanations and appeals that came to Freeman's attention as he is the last official who could overturn the eviction ruling.

"I upheld the ruling of the judicial officers," Freeman said.

The events that led to the eviction of Lauren Andrews unfolded on October 26. She attended an off-campus function with her friend, James McDowell, a letter filed as an appeal in the case by Andrews stated.

When McDowell saw there were children present, he told Andrews he would "put the weapon away," she wrote. He put the gun in her purse without her knowing, she added.

On her return to the dorm she left the purse on a table in the multi-purpose room, she wrote. The purse and the gun were found by dormitory officials, she added.

The house manager, Courtney Parker, then told Andrews to take the gun off campus and Andrews thought that would be the end of it, she wrote.

Parker then called university police, said police Chief Roberson Brown. There was no gun in the multi-purpose room when police arrived.

"We had enough probable cause, three witnesses, to believe there was a gun," Brown said. "We did not have enough for an arrest, but we had enough to file a report."

That report and the subsequent way the school administration handled the incident leaves Ava Andrews boiling.

"My daughter didn't know about the gun," Andrews said. "The school employee gave my daughter the gun to take off campus. She should be fired. The male should be disciplined. My daughter should be exonerated and made whole."

Parker, the ASU dorm manager, had a disciplinary letter put in her personnel file, Freeman said. No one else will be disciplined.