A Benton County Circuit Court judge this week allowed an Oregon State University student charged with hate crimes to return to campus.
A judge previously forbade Andrew Oswalt from having any contact with OSU. A different judge on Monday issued an order allowing Oswalt to have contact with the university so long as he follows terms set by OSU.
Oswalt, 27, is a graduate student at OSU and is a representative in the Associated Students of Oregon State University. He is accused of affixing racist stickers last year to cars belonging to members of a group called Showing Up for Racial Justice in a June 17 incident at the First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op in Corvallis.
Police posted surveillance photos of the incident to Facebook. One of Oswalt’s former students reported Oswalt to police after seeing the photos. A second man in the photos has yet to be identified.
Prosecutors filed charges against Oswalt on Jan. 30. Police arrested him at his off-campus apartment that day and took him to the Benton County Jail, where he remained until Feb. 2, when someone posted bail on his behalf.
At Oswalt’s first court hearing, Judge Carol Bispham ordered that he not have any contact with OSU.
On Feb. 5, an attorney representing Oswalt told Judge David Connell her client had reached an agreement with OSU pertaining to contact and asked the judge to modify the order to allow Oswalt to have contact with the university. The judge said he would need to see a copy of the agreement before making a decision.
On Monday, an order signed by Connell was filed in Oswalt’s court file allowing him to have contact with OSU.
A copy of the agreement between Oswalt and the university was provided to the Gazette-Times by Oswalt’s attorney, Jennifer Nash. The agreement addressed to Oswalt is dated Jan. 30 and is signed by Carol Millie, director of Student Conduct and Community Standards. It directs Oswalt to have no contact with the student who reported him to police after seeing the surveillance photos. Otherwise, it allows Oswalt to be on campus and to attend university-sponsored events.
University spokesperson Steve Clark said he could not comment on a student’s conditions of enrollment or presence on campus if that student has requested confidentiality.
“We remain very mindful of the safety of everyone at Oregon State University and are committed to providing for that to the best of our ability,” Clark said.
He said the university is conscious of societal circumstances locally and nationally.
“We’re just very thoughtful right now of what is going on in America,” Clark said.
“Our policies for public safety are to maintain a high level of awareness and commitment to ongoing safety at the university,” he added.
According to a post on the Daily Barometer’s Facebook page, Oswalt attended an Associated Students of Oregon State University House of Representatives meeting on Wednesday. The Barometer states Oswalt was met by protesters, including students and community members.
Oswalt is the subject of a recall vote in an ASOSU election that began Monday and ends Friday. If two-thirds of voting OSU students elect to remove Oswalt from office, he will lose his seat as graduate representative in the House of Representatives.
Oswalt also is running for re-election for his seat for next school year in the same election, which allows students to vote online until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Oswalt's next court hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 26.