A TV news reporter was accosted while filming Saint Patrick’s Day parties on North High Street’s frat row.
The reporter was streaming live when a white man wearing a backwards ball cap and a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey approaches him and demands he deletes the video.
“I just need you to delete the video,” the man said.
He said he didn’t want it to become a problem but, “It will become a problem.”
After several such interactions the man attempts to grab the camera and for the first time his face is seen. The video continues with the reporter walking down North High Street and toward the Mountainlair green as the first person and a second person, also a white college-aged looking man, follow him and continue to harass him.
The reporter is OK.
“We are appalled by the actions displayed this evening against a member of the media. While we are thankful the reporter was not injured, we want to be clear this behavior does not reflect the values of West Virginia University and will not be tolerated,” a WVU spokesperson said.
WVU worked with several of its organizations, Morgantown and its police department to have extra officers standing by.
“Unfortunately, it did not prevent this incident from happening,” the spokesperson said. “UPD officers were nearby when they received the call and responded quickly. A police investigation is ongoing, and the Office of Student Conduct is also reviewing the video and other evidence.”
The university is also looking into potential violations of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Captain Ken Tennant, a Morgantown fire marshal, said he was in Sunnyside when the call about the reporter came over the radio.
Fire marshals checked the inside of the fraternity houses to make sure the ones with party or gathering rooms were not being used. However, he said there isn’t a lot that falls under the fire code when the gatherings are outside as Wednesday’s were.
Tennant said he wasn’t surprised by the gathering and what looked like violations of the COVID rules.
“Knowing the history we have with the fraternities and knowing the history we have with the ones unregulated by WVU it doesn’t surprise me at all,” he said.
The Morgantown Police Department went to a large party on Wells Street twice, Morgantown Communications Direction Andrew Stacy said. On the first visit a warning was given and on the second, fire marshals also responded and helped break up the party. Video of party is being reviewed and citations may be coming.
The MPD also arrested Jakob Nangle and charged him with obstructing and unnecessary noise. Stacy said officers were called to a loud party on Forest Avenue and Nangle refused to turn down his music when officers told him to.
An open container violation was issued on Elk Street in the early evening and the MPD responded to about 10 loud party complaints, most of which were resolved through talking to the residents.
While house parties and frat row caused problems local bars and clubs did not.
“The bars and clubs were very good,” Tennant said. “I think they were doing what they were supposed to do for the most part. We kept an eye on them throughout the day and into the evening and late-night hours.”