A remote goodbye

Azmeh Talha
Transcript editor

Looking back on the past couple of months, it’s all kind of surreal, isn’t it? And now we’ve finished spring semester in ways none of us could have ever contemplated.

Ohio Wesleyan University students from all over Ohio, the U.S. and around the world had roughly two months on campus before the novel coronavirus shut us down and forced students and faculty to head into the uncharted territory of remote learning.

Living through a pandemic has been life-changing and it has uprooted us in unexpected ways. No longer did we have the normal daily regime – waking up, getting to class on time, attending extracurriculars, working, like it or not, for extra cash, or heading to a favorite study spot to start assignments left untouched until the 11th hour.

We were stripped of the options to run downtown for hot java from Delaware’s coffee shops, grab a smoothie from Pulp, complete workouts at Simpson Querrey Gym, or satisfy cravings for Asian cuisine at Typhoon, Amato’s pizza or a taste of Greece at Opa’s.

It was demanding to adjust to remote learning. Getting into a focused study groove from the comfort of home, struggling with internet access or making it to class on time while living in different time zones across the world was not easy. The inability to visit professors during office hours while struggling to grasp course content or just to chat was the strangest new normal.

But we adjusted to these unanticipated changes and so I say to faculty, staff and students, I am proud of us all for making it work, as challenging as it was.

Professors across departments, thank you for your flexibility with students. Thank you for being patient and understanding throughout this overwhelming experience and most importantly, thank you also for going through the stress of learning how to remotely teach.

Special recognition should go to faculty who lead students through complex projects or lab or art assignments without having access to OWU’s distinctive classroom equipment.

Fellow Bishops, I am proud to call you peers. Through unprecedented circumstances, you displayed great strength in handling these stressful situations. If you can manage your responsibilities through a pandemic, you know you can do anything.

Being abruptly evicted from dorms, attending classes from home and the uncertainty of, well, pretty much everything, is a lot to handle. But you hung in and made the most of a mind-boggling situation. My hope is this pandemic will make us all stronger. You must be grateful this odd semester is coming to an end. I know I am.

Seniors, please take a moment to reflect on your four years at OWU and be grateful. Recall the all-nighters, the questionable food at Smith Dining Hall, the dorm roommate you loved, hated or peacefully coexisted with, studying in peaceful and aesthetic Slocum reading room, the hands-on experience of a liberal arts education and the fun and craziness of it all. Recall the close friends and new friends from diverse backgrounds that you may not have met elsewhere.

To the Class of 2020, you deserve a better goodbye. I have faith you will get it one day.

Meanwhile, plan an awesome-as-possible graduation ceremony with loved ones. You earned it. Get as wild and extravagant as virtual ceremonies can with your family and friends without blowing social distancing boundaries. You earned your bachelor’s degree; you deserve the festivities.

For the rest of us, this may not be the farewell we had in mind, but I hope this year at OWU was memorable. I hope you’ll look back on OWU as a place of opportunity, support and growth wherever you go from here. I wish you nothing but luck, success and happiness and I hope to see you again this fall.

This virtual goodbye does not seem enough, does it? It feels like we said farewell in March without really saying the actual words. Nonetheless, on behalf of The Transcript and its staff, goodbye to all of our strong, hardworking faculty, staff and students. We’re all family you know.

Stay safe, Bishops. And don’t forget – wash your hands.

Gabbert’s file now under review by municipal prosecutor


Gabbert. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com

Areena Arora, Managing Editor

The Delaware County prosecutor’s office confirmed Luke Gabbert’s file was closed earlier this week, and no charges for felony will be filed.

Julie Datko, public information officer said Gabbert’s file will not be presented to grand jury.

Earlier this year, Gabbert was found in the creek south of 28 Franklin St., on the morning of Feb. 7 and was pronounced dead at 10:40 a.m. that morning.

Hypothermia and an injury in the upper cervical spine caused his death, according to the autopsy released by Delaware County coroner’s office.

The file is currently under review with the Municipal prosecutor.

*This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Spinal injury, hypothermia caused student’s death

Luke Gabbert. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com
Luke Gabbert. Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com

Transcript Staff

An injury in the upper cervical spine from falling in the Delaware Run Creek and hypothermia caused freshman Luke Gabbert’s death on Feb. 6, according to the autopsy report by Delaware County Coroner’s office, released on April 8. 

Gabbert was found in the creek, south of 28 Franklin St., on the morning of Feb. 7 and was pronounced dead at 10:40 a.m. that morning.

Alcohol at the level of 0.21 percent was detected, which is nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.

“We know that Mr. Gabbert was consuming alcohol on campus,” said Capt. Adam Moore of the Delaware Police Department. “We cannot get into any specifics at this point since no charges have been filed.”

Dr. Mark Hickman, Delaware County coroner, said, “There was damage to Gabbert’s neck as a result of the spinal trauma. It is unclear as to what the primary cause of death was.”

There was also evidence of hypothermia. “[Hypothermia] doesn’t take too long if someone is in cold water,” Hickman said.

Based on the timeline of events, Hickman said, Gabbert died sometime after 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 7.

According to Moore, a report from the investigation is now being transferred to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office. Since the incident involved an underage victim, the prosecutor’s office will inspect circumstances surrounding alcohol usage, he said.

The prosecutor’s role, Moore said, is to make recommendations on whether or not to make charges and who to charge. “Some type of criminal violation has occurred, involving specific individuals or organizations,”  he said. 

There was no evidence of any illicit drugs beside the prescription medicines Gabbert was taking, said Hickman. 

“There was no indication of foul play and no external injury found,” said Hickman. “I think it was a tragic accident.”

According to Hickman, Gabbert was wearing a dress shirt, tie and khakis, but no jacket or coat, at the time of his death. His wallet containing his I.D. and some cash was also found in his pocket.  

*This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Breaking News: student found in Delaware Run

Transcript Staff

Luke Anthony Gabbert, an OWU freshman from Lewis Center, Ohio, was found dead Saturday morning in the Delaware Run, a small stream flowing near the campus off Spring Street.

Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com
Photo courtesy of battlingbishops.com

Gabbert was a soccer player and a new pledge of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Just after 10:30 a.m., Delaware police sectioned off part of downtown on South Franklin Street, not far from the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.

Robert Wood, director of OWU’s Public Safety, said, “We are currently working on an investigation with the city and should be able to release additional details soon.”

The cause of death is undetermined and still being investigated by Delaware police who are awaiting autopsy results. No evidence of foul play has been found so far.

President Rock Jones sent an email to the campus community about Gabbert’s death. Members of the chaplain’s office and counseling services staff were available for students and faculty members to go to shortly after receiving the news.

“Words can not express the sorrow and hurt that comes with the loss of Luke Gabbert. I hold his family, friends and our OWU family in my prayers and thoughts as we all try to make sense of this horrible tragedy, ” said Roger Ingles, director of athletics.

Ingles said he is hopeful the Delaware Police Department will conclude their investigation and be able to give answers to unanswered questions regarding Gabbert’s death.

The Transcript will update this story as more information becomes available

Faculty reevaluate student population size at first meeting

Faculty met in Merrick Hall. Photo courtesy of owu.edu
Faculty met in Merrick Hall. Photo courtesy of owu.edu

Matt Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

On the evening of Jan. 25, the sun dove beneath Elliot Hall’s horizon and the remaining rays raced past the cold, naked trees and through Merrick Hall’s third floor windows, throwing their duplicates on the opposite wall.

The scene provided the backdrop for Ohio Wesleyan’s President Rock Jones to open the first official faculty meeting of 2016 by thanking faculty for “rolling up (their) sleeves and working together.”

After mentioning the struggles the university has faced with declining enrollment and number of applicants received, Jones posed a question.

“What is the appropriate size of OWU?”

He rhetorically asked if they were willing to take the time and put the appropriate money into the school to grow it back to where it once was. If not, OWU will become a smaller school.

Jones wants OWU to explore different programs and improve upon everything from parking to the process of applying for classes in order to reach potential students the school normally doesn’t reach.

Chris Wolverton, professor of botany-microbiology, addressed the room as a member of the university’s Governance Committee.

He echoed Jones’ push to put the OWU back in the right direction. He suggested leading marketing strategies based on the school’s academics.

When Mark Allison, an associate professor of English, confronted the faculty’s recent frustrations regarding new marketing techniques, he simply said, “What we dislike, the kids love.”

“They think Taylor Swift’s music is terrific.”

He also pointed out that faculty had input about the new marketing campaign at every level.

Additionally, a new computational neuroscience major was approved by a unanimous vote.