Updates: The Tweet Heard Round ODU: 'Shorty Got That Pill Cosby'
Update (April 11, 5:47 p.m.):
At 5:33 p.m. on Monday, April 11, Wells’ tweeted the following statement:
“First I want to start off by apologizing for my actions during this whole situation, and not saying anything when I should’ve spoke up for what was right. For the record I am no rapist, and I am not promoting the actions that the young man decided to take that night, but me being the person that I am, I did not feel it was my place to speak up. In the end I feel that this whole situation was blown out of proportion, and that you guys fail to realize that I am a Freshman on this campus seeking a better future for myself. It would be great if this whole situation can end here and moved on from with no comments at all. If you do comment after this I still will respect you as a person.”
Just over a week after “The Hunting Ground” directors Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick visited campus to talk to students about campus sexual assault, a tweet sent out by a student opened up a similar conversation on Twitter.
The Mace and Crown received a tip from a reliable source around 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, that a tweet sent out by ODU freshman Shaquon Wells had sparked controversy between students online. The tweet, sent from @SwaggTheBarber around 1:30 p.m., said, “I have witnessed it all on this campus. Shorty got that Pill Cosby last night.” The tweet indicates that the incident occurred the night of Saturday, April 9 in an apartment.
Director of Public Affairs Jon Cawley confirmed university police are investigating the tweet.
Reaction to the tweet was split between students who questioned Wells about what happened and if he reported what he saw, while other students defended Wells. Shortly after, Wells tweeted, “When you’re from where I’m from, we keep shit that ain’t our business m out of our business 💯”
Many Twitter users began to criticize Wells for failing to intervene, and questioned his motive in tweeting about the incident on Sunday afternoon. Wells responded to those tweets with a picture of Superman, and said, “This who I must have been last night 😂” Wells retweeted numerous tweets directed at him, containing mixed reactions. He frequently responded to negative remarks from females with “I respect your opinion beautiful 💯”
The Student Government Association later tweeted to Wells, saying, “@SwaggTheBarber We hope that you join us in the fight to end Sexual Assault/Dating Violence and support victims.” Wells responded with, “I will attend 💯”
As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we hope you join us in this effort to prevent and support any victims! https://t.co/ZVo2CqgIGn
— ODU SGA (@ODUSGA) April 10, 2016
Some students retweeted Wells’ tweet to the official university account, the women’s center and the university police department. Just after 4 p.m., @ODUnow confirmed to one user that “the tweet has been reported.”
@delafro_ The tweet has been reported.
— ODUnow (@ODUnow) April 10, 2016
While users argued about Wells’ actions, others turned their concerns to the unknown female student whose drink had been spiked. Several users questioned Wells about the identity and safety of the student. Around 7 p.m., Wells’ Twitter account was no longer online.
A Twitter user who had also been at the same apartment tweeted screenshots from a text conversation with another student named Tiara. The conversation starts with questions about a girl wearing a red top and black leggings that was drugged by “strangers.” The responses indicated that unidentified female student was not aware of the pill, but did make it home safely.
Wells’ Twitter account was reactivated at 9:20 p.m., though the original tweet has since been deleted. For more updates to this story, follow the Mace and Crown on Twitter.