After the online publication of a story on Stalker’s arrest last week, many members of the Duquesne student body used social media to express their opposition. Some felt Stalker’s arrest was a private matter, which should not be publicized. “[Stalker] is in college and college students make mistakes … his mistakes deserve to be private,” one comment read, while another asked, “Why would you share this?”
In light of these comments, this week’s Staff Editorial lays out the criteria The Duke staff uses to determine which stories are newsworthy. As highlighted in that column, one of the main criteria for newsworthiness is whether the person involved is a public figure. Stalker sought to become a public figure at Duquesne when he ran for an executive position within the Student Government Association. More than 1,000 students voted in this year’s SGA elections, which means at least one sixth of the student body at Duquesne is familiar with Stalker.
The position of VP of Student Life will put him in a place of influence and prominence on campus, and comes with many responsibilities. As a high-ranking SGA member, Stalker will also be a representative of Duquesne’s students to the university administration and the world outside Duquesne.
It is my decision, and the decision of News Editor Brandon Addeo, that these facts make Stalker a public figure at Duquesne. Therefore, his conduct both on and off campus are of interest to the students of Duquesne.
That being said, Stalker has been arrested and charged. He has not been found guilty of anything, and there is every possibility that the charges will be dropped or he will be found not guilty. In that event, you can expect The Duke to cover this result with the same diligence, professionalism and drive with which we strive to approach every story. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Brandon Addeo and Raymond Arke | The Duquesne Duke
Current Student Government Association President James Daher said it is “not under [his] authority” to prevent the swearing-in of incoming SGA Executive Vice President of Student Life Kevin Stalker, although he says “there may be other university administrators” who may prevent it.
This clarified an earlier statement by Daher in which he said he would not stop the confirmation “without a court ruling.”
An anonymous SGA member said Duquesne Vice President for Student Life Douglass Frizzell and Duquesne’s Student Conduct Board are considering preventing Stalker’s confirmation, which is set to take place Sunday evening.
The source requested anonymity because no formal announcement has yet been made.
If Stalker’s nomination is withdrawn, a special election will occur to fill the position, according to the SGA source.
Stalker is accused of assault, robbery and escaping police custody after an altercation on the South Side March 11, just two weeks before he is set to be confirmed by the SGA.
On March 21, Frizzell offered no comment due to the pending nature of the charges.
Stalker’s preliminary hearing was originally scheduled for March 20, but a judge postponed the hearing to April 27.
Stalker ran unopposed with the Forward Party in last month’s SGA election. The SGA Vice President of Student Life mediates all student concerns with the Duquesne administration, casts a tie-breaking vote in the SGA Senate and assumes “the duties of the President during the absence or incapacity of the President or the Office of the President in the case of a vacancy within that Office,” according to the SGA constitution.
According to his biography on the Forward Party’s Facebook page, Stalker is a junior who is involved with campus charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Circle K and St. Vincent de Paul Society.
The post also says that as executive vice president of student life, he plans to “enhance the student body by bringing students closer together with new and exciting events on our campus [and] work closely with administrators and the Spritians.”
In reference to his arrest, he made the following comment in a statement to The Duke: “I appreciate the support and love I have received from my Duquesne family.”
On March 11, Stalker was waiting in line at the South Side bar Pregame at 1501 Sarah Street, when a Pittsburgh Police officer said he observed him take a pair of orange glasses off the head of another male in the line and put them in his own pocket, according to the criminal complaint.
Stalker and the other male “began to fight in the middle of the street” before officers intervened.
The complaint said police then told Stalker he would be detained. Eiland briefly turned away to assist an officer with another arrest. However, when he turned back the officer alleged he saw Stalker walking away from the scene.
Eiland said in the complaint that two officers observed Stalker go into a residence on South 16th Street. The officers then entered and placed Stalker under arrest.
He was detained in the Allegheny County Jail from March 12 through March 14, according to a docket sheet.
Stalker and the newly elected SGA officers are being confirmed at the March 26 SGA meeting.
Reporting from The Duke found Stalker was arrested twice before.
The first arrest occurred in May 2014 in Sarasota, Florida. According to an affidavit, Stalker was charged with the misdemeanor of resisting an officer without violence. The case was administratively dismissed after Stalker paid a $165 fine and completed 15 hours of community service, along with attending a one-day pre-trial intervention class.
In 2015, Pittsburgh police arrested Stalker for public drunkenness, of which he was found guilty in the municipal district court. However, Stalker later appealed the decision successfully and was found not guilty by the Court of Common Pleas.
Zachary Landau contributed reporting.
See the below documents from Pennsylvania and Florida public record: