Student Senate president resigns after arrest for disorderly intoxication

Provided by Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: 4:00 p.m.

Student Senate President Nick Southall resigned, forfeiting his title and full tuition scholarship.

“I think it was a good decision and I support it. I look forward to helping senate move forward with this transition in the coming weeks,” said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs and senate advisor.

Tuition and fees for a year at Ohio University for an in-state student is $10,380.

Southall, who declined to comment further, will be replaced by current Senate Vice President Anna Morton. A voting senate member will replace Morton after senate holds an internal re-election at its first general body meeting after the winter break.

Morton will also take her oath of office at that meeting.

“We support Nick’s best interests as his colleagues, and therefore respect his choice to resign. While a change in leadership will present a challenge, we are confident that this is good news for our organization,” said Nicole Spears, a spokesperson for senate.

Senate Treasurer Austin LaForest will retain his position.

"With his resignation brings new leadership to Senate, and I hope to fulfill the role as President to the best of my ability. As I transition into the presidency I pledge to the Senate and the students of Ohio University, my dedication to them and my promise to, every day, be working for their betterment," Morton said, in a statement.


UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.

Ohio University Student Senate President Nick Southall has been encouraged to step down at the request of his organization’s adviser.

“I did tell him that I think that he needs to step down as senate president,” said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student affairs and senate adviser. “I think that is what a leader would do in this situation.”

Authorities used a stun gun to subdue Southall before arresting him early Monday morning in St. Petersburg, Fla., for “disorderly intoxication — disturbance,” while on the student bus trip to the Beef 'O' Brady’s Bowl.

Police responded at 2:45 Monday morning to Sirata Beach Resort, where those on the OU trip were staying. Southall was found “screaming up and down the hallways,” said Cristen Rensel, spokesperson for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

“Our deputies advised him and gave him a warning saying he was causing a disturbance,” Rensel said. “He was asked to go into his room and go there so he would stop causing a disturbance and there wouldn't be any more problems, and he told them he didn't know what room he was supposed to go to."

Southall was then taken to the lobby to find out his room number, though he continued to cause a scene and was eventually subdued with a stun gun, Rensel said.

“He continued to scream profanities in front of various people and our deputy,” Rensel said. “Our deputy went to place him under arrest and he resisted.”

Southall, who did not return a request for comment, is currently en route to Athens traveling on the bus offered through the university. The bus picked him up from the police station before heading back, delaying the trip by more than two hours, a student on the bus said.

Lombardi said he believes Southall will be making a decision “sooner rather than later.”

“As disappointed as I get when students … make bad choices, that doesn’t mean I think we should abandon them out of state,” Lombardi said. “We would do that for any student.”

Senate’s Twitter account, @OUSenate, tweeted that it was “regretfully aware” of the situation. Senate will take a look into Southall's actions if he doesn't resign, said Anna Morton, senate’s vice president, who would become president if Southall steps down.

"Our initial oath when we take office is not to bring shame or discredit to the university, so right there his oath is broken," Morton said.

If Southall resigns or is removed from office, his full tuition waiver as senate president will be revoked.

Lombardi said the Office of Community Standards will be investigating the charges against Southall, as it would for any student, after the holiday break.

“I can’t speak to what the charges may be,” Lombardi said. “I just don’t know enough about the details yet.”

Southall’s role as senate president will not play a formal role in the university investigation, Lombardi said, though senate might take action separate from the university.

“My understanding is that it would have to be a senate initiative (to remove Southall from office),” Lombardi said. “I don’t know if there’s any precedent that would speak to a situation ... where (the university) would remove him.”


Ohio University Student Senate President Nick Southall was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., early Monday morning, according to booking information available online.

Southall, 22, was arrested at 2:50 a.m. Monday for “disorderly intoxication - disturbance,” according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Southall was booked at 4:05 a.m. Monday and released the same day at 6:13 p.m.

The senate president could not be reached for comment late Monday night.

Southall was in St. Petersburg to watch Ohio play East Carolina University in the Beef 'O’ Brady’s Bowl, according to his public Twitter account.

Southall traveled on the bus provided by the university, according to a picture tweeted from his account.

The sheriff’s office referred all inquiries about the case to the public relations office, which was closed Monday night.

The booking report misspelled Southall’s last name, spelling it “Southhall” online.

Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs and an adviser to senate, expressed his displeasure with the situation.

“I am incredibly disappointed,” he said in a text message.

OU students’ arrest reports can be requested by OU’s Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility to consider taking action based on their actions.

“Students arrested or cited for an alcohol or drug violation off-campus will be referred to the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility,” according to the office’s website. “Students arrested or cited for acts of off-campus misconduct are routinely charged with an offense under the university's code of conduct.”

Allan Smith contributed to this report.

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