Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gus Malzahn apologizes to Air Force vet who was verbally assaulted by Auburn players.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn has personally apologized to an Air Force veteran who was harrassed (along with her service dog) by two unnamed members of the Auburn football team.

Ashley Ozyurt, an Air Force non-combat veteran and Auburn University student,  alleges that two Auburn football players taunted herself and her service dog while she was on her way to class. The service dog helps Ozyurt cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which she says developed following a sexual assault while serving in the military.

Ozyurt described her ordeal on the "Service Dog Memes" page on Facebook. She accuses the two players (whom she identified by "football numbers that they were wearing their FB sweat suits and backpacks")of "whistling and making kissing noises" at her service dog. When she asked the players to stop, one of the players continued to harass her.

Ozyurt's PTSD started kicking in during the incident. She says the service dog let her away from the two players, one of whom shouted an expletive at her as she left.

Ozyurt says she then went to Auburn's Office of Accessibility, and reported the incident and gave the numbers of the two players.

Ozyurt said this was the first time an incident like this has happened to her on the Auburn campus. 
"I have never had a negative experience like this, ever! Especially on Auburn’s campus where I have been accepted and treated like family until now. In fact, I have commented many times Auburn on how the campus is a safe place for everyone. It is no longer a safe place for me. I am hurt, angered, and very humiliated. I expected more from my university’s athletes."
The two players' names and numbers were mentioned on Facebook, but haven't been verified by independent sources.  
 Auburn director of university communications Mike Clardy said in a statement that the school is "investigating the reports and will take all appropriate action once all the facts are known."

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