Editor’s note: Smith Meyers declined to answer any questions regarding his arrest after multiple requests for comment. Read his statement here.
Despite student criticism of UF Student Body President-elect William Smith Meyers’ Spring Break arrest, several university and campus leaders have remained silent.
Key West Police arrested Meyers on a charge of criminal mischief at about 2 a.m. Tuesday after a witness reported seeing Meyers, 22, drunkenly attempt to start and knock over two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, according to an arrest report.
“Meyers was so intoxicated that he did not even recall coming down to Key West for spring break vacation,” the arresting officer wrote in the report.
In a statement released Sunday, Meyers wrote that he recognized he had to earn back the trust of those around him, and apologized for representing UF in a negative light.
“I am fully cooperating with law enforcement to resolve this incident and will be as transparent as possible as the case continues,” he said.
Meyers was arrested less than two weeks after his successful and unopposed run to be the next Student Body president under the campaign slogan, “Character that counts.”
Since Meyers’ release from the Monroe County Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon on a $328 bond, he declined to answer any questions about the incident. Impact Party spokesperson Janae Moodie and UF Senate President Jackie Phillips (Impact) have not responded to requests for comment.
UF President Kent Fuchs declined to comment on Meyers’ arrest. Jen Day Shaw, the Dean of Students, declined to comment as well.
UF Spokesperson John Hines wrote in an email that the university is aware of Meyers’ arrest and “his status as a UF student has not changed.”
“Generally, a misdemeanor type of offense would not impact a student’s enrollment,” Hines said.
Despite being reportedly drunk in public, Meyers was not arrested on an alcohol-related charge. In an interview with the Gainesville Sun, Key West Police spokesperson Alyson Crean said officers in the island city try to use discretion when considering charges against college students who visit for Spring Break.
“We don’t want to ruin this kid’s life for knocking over a couple of bikes,” Crean told the Sun.
UF student Anthony Rojas is holding a protest Tuesday on Turlington Plaza to demand for Meyers’ resignation. The 21-year-old political science junior said he hopes UF makes an example out of Meyers and asks for his resignation. Meyers’ alleged behavior smeared the university’s reputation — the incident was reported in news outlets across the country — and should not be tolerated.
‘If nothing is done in this particular case, then people will think it’s alright,” he said.
In March 2010, UF Student Body President Jordan Johnson was cited for disorderly conduct by the University Police Department after demanding a ride from the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, or SNAP, to his off-campus housing. He was cited and finished his term as Student Body president a couple months later.
UF Student Senator Zachariah Chou (Independent, Infinity Hall) said he believes Meyers should resign, because public officials need to be held to a higher standard.
“If I were in his shoes, I know what I would have to do,” Chou said. “I would just resign.”
Contact Paige Fry at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @paigexfry