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University of Cincinnati students, leaders gather for heated discussion on Tensing mistrial

Posted at 9:08 PM, Nov 14, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Some University of Cincinnati students' frustrations boiled over Monday evening at a campus discussion about the Tensing mistrial, but UC interim president Beverly Davenport said she is determined not to let the controversy divide her campus.

Before Davenport could speak, some students had already taken up a chant: "Demand a retrial! Demand a retrial!" 

Over the course of the meeting, community leaders such as Davenport, UC Police Chief Anthony Carter and New Jerusalem Baptist Church's Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., told the assembled students that their outrage was valid and that their passion should be channeled into productive work for change.

"You can be angry, but vent that anger into constructive things like what you are doing right now," Rev. Lynch told the crowd.

Some students, however, expressed the belief that there could be no unification without major alterations to the university’s system -- namely, the firing of more school officers. Chief Carter objected.

"It is really easy to look and say, 'Fire, fire fire,'" he said. “If anyone wants to sit down with me and show me something different instead of just saying, 'Fire them,' then I am willing to listen to them."

Davenport said her administration would work to continue improving their school and police department by bringing issues such as the Tensing trial to the forefront of campus consciousness.

"We have all been watching very closely for more than a year, so it’s important to come together, to reflect, to be with those of us who have been affected so deeply by what’s happened," Davenport said.

In the meantime, students aren't the only Cincinnatians hoping for a retrial. The Countdown to Conviction Coalition, a group comprising members from local civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and The AMOS Project, held a peaceful demonstration Monday in the office of Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters.

The group said it planned to continue these demonstrations until Deters announced that he would retry Tensing in Hamilton County.