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Anna Ayers, commissioner of the Senate Appropriations Commission, pauses to exhale while speaking during the Student Senate meeting on Oct. 3. (FILE)

Former Student Senate member Anna Ayers pleads not guilty to three charges of making false alarms

Former Ohio University Student Senate member Anna Ayers pleaded not guilty to three counts of making false alarms Wednesday.

Ayers did not appear in Athens Municipal County on Thursday but is set to appear in court at a later date. Ayers — an OU senior studying journalism and a previous Post columnist — was arrested by the OU Police Department on Monday and charged with three counts of making false alarms.

Ayers had previously reported she received three threatening messages, two in the Student Senate office and one at her residence. An OUPD investigation found that Ayers placed the messages herself prior to reporting them.

According to OUPD’s report, each count of making false alarms is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

On Tuesday, Ayers resigned from her positions as commissioner of the Senate Appropriations Commission and as a member of The Post Publishing Board.

“I think it was the responsible thing to do,” Hans Meyer, the chair of The Post Publishing Board and an associate professor of journalism, said. “It was something she initiated, and I respect that.”

At the Student Senate meeting Wednesday, Student Senate President Maddie Sloat said Senate is hoping to have the role filled by next week. Sloat also made a statement addressing how the incident was being processed and how Student Senate planned to move forward before moving on to business as usual at the meeting.

“While I am still processing all that has happened, I want to say that I care about Anna and want her to receive the help that she needs,” Sloat said. “I hope that you are all able to channel that mindset as well. We are leaders on this campus, and we need to be role models more than ever before.”

Student Senate is planning to have LGBT Center Director delfin bautista and Counseling and Psychological Services available to members during next week if anyone feels they needs those resources.

“While we are happy to answer any general questions you may have about the situation, we encourage you all to seek support at this time and the campus resources available, including Counseling and Psychological Services, the LGBT Center and the Division of Student Affairs,” Sloat said. 

Student Senate held a meeting to address the threats toward Ayers on Oct. 4. At that point, Senate leadership believed the reported threats had come from another member of the body.

Sloat said Student Senate’s mission has not changed and it will not change its commitment to believing survivors. She said members will continue to advocate for the university, participate in trainings and education on microaggression and discrimination, and work to make OU safer for every person on campus.  

“It’s important for you to know that I do not, for one second, regret any of the actions we took in the past week to support Anna on the information that we had at the time” Sloat said. “Know that if you report something to (Vice President) Hannah (Burke), (Treasurer) Lydia (Ramlo) or anyone else on our leadership, we will listen. We will believe you. We care about you.”


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