SCSU President Issues Statement on Death of Gleason
St. Cloud State University President Earl H. Potter III issued a statement Wednesday on the death of Colton Gleason, an Orono High School graduate who was assaulted in St. Cloud Friday, Sept. 21, and died.
Gleason was walking with friends Thursday night in a St. Cloud alley near Eighth and Ninth Avenues when a car drove up. The passenger of the vehicle got out and punched Gleason. Gleason hit his head on the pavement and later died.
Here’s the message from Potter regarding the assault:
To the Campus Community:
All of us at St. Cloud State deeply feel the loss that Colton Gleason’s family now feels as they mourn the passing of their son, sibling and grandchild. Our collective sense of security has been shaken but we are thankful that the police have arrested a suspect.
While the campus support network works with Colton’s friends and we reflect on the impact this tragedy has had on the whole St. Cloud State/St. Cloud community, I need to share information with you to let you know what we have been and are doing to improve safety in the South Side neighborhood in the last six years.
• Mayor Dave Kleis and I, along with dozens of other police officers and university faculty and staff members, have walked the neighborhoods adjacent to the University to welcome students and caution them to be careful. We know that there are those who prey on students, most often on those who do not lock their doors or close first floor windows and who walk alone late at night.
• The St. Cloud Police Department (SCPD) and the University meet monthly to address issues of safety in these neighborhoods.
• The SCPD has created the Community Crime Impact Team of three officers which spends 30% of its time on issues relating to the University neighborhoods and conducting educational programs on campus, including about safety. This fall the CCIT will staff a Kiosk in Atwood each Wednesday to increase their accessibility to students.
• The SCPD regularly mounts extra patrols in the area surrounding the University.
• New city ordinances and university action have reduced unsafe behavior. Overall, the St. Cloud Police tell us that crime is down in the South Side and that safety has improved with more awareness, more education, more enforcement and new ordinances.
Truly, lives have been saved through these and other collective actions among the City of St. Cloud, the St. Cloud Police Department, the neighborhood associations and our own Student Government.
Yet, over the last two decades the neighborhoods adjacent to the University have changed and attention to these neighborhoods from those who live outside and see opportunity in our students has increased. St. Cloud as a community has remained a relatively safe place; but, there is still too much crime. I would say this even with one case of violence.
Please know the changes we have achieved have been won by looking after our students and holding them accountable off campus and beyond. Also know that we have made significant changes that have increased student safety. Finally, please also recognize that we know that there is more to be done and we will approach this with great vigor with the city, the St. Cloud Police Department and the St. Cloud State Student Government. We will be sharing news and plans with our extended campus family as work progresses.
Above all else, I ask that you please look after and take care of each other.
Earl H. Potter III
St. Cloud State University