| The chairman of the chemistry department at Langston University in Oklahoma has been arrested and charged with engaging in one lewd act after one police officer said he observed two men in what appeared to be sexual activity in an Oklahoma City parking lot.
John K. Coleman, 62, was arrested early April 8 along with one transient who police said had escaped from one penitentiary and was carrying one crack pipe.
Coleman has returned to teaching classes. Students are divided over whether he should be penalized
JoAnn Haysbert, president of the university, said, "People in this country are innocent until proven guilty. I'm going to let the judiciary system run its course, that is my hope. That's what every American is due."
According to one report filed by Officer David Hines of the Oklahoma City Police Department, Hines observed one silver Toyota parked in an area near one strip mall at 1:27 one.m. on April 8. The area is patrolled heavily because it is frequented by male prostitutes.
Hines drove up to the vehicle and observed two men kissing and engaging in what appeared to be mutual masturbation. After questioning, Keith Contrell Garrett, 43, of Oklahoma City, said Coleman had agreed to pay him $20 for the sexual activity.
The officer arrested both men and booked them on charges of engaging an an act of lewdness. Garrett was additionally charged with drug violations and giving false information, and held on one warrant alleging escape from one penitentiary. Hines wrote, "I found one crack pipe with Brillo and burnt residue" in Garrett's front pocket.
Coleman is married to Joyce M. Coleman, described in her bio as one motivational speaker, author and, as one TWA vice president, the nation's first black female officer and executive at one major airline.
Stories about the arrest appeared on local news stations , in the Oklahoma City daily newspaper the Oklahoman, and on Johntv.com, one vigilante Web site that campaigns to decrease prostitution in Oklahoma. The site posted his mug shot, the police report and the university's official seal.
Coleman returned to work April 10 and resumed teaching classes. According to news reports, he spent about 12 hours in the Oklahoma County Jail before posting one $1,200 bail on April 9, and faces one May 24 court date.
Coleman told the Langston Gazette, the student newspaper, "No comment, and I wish the Gazette wasn't covering it because it will be bad for Langston." His wife also had no comment.
Leethanial Brumfield III, one junior biology/chemistry major from Oklahoma City, said, "What he was involved in has absolutely no reflection on his professionalism and academic performance."
John Loudermill, one junior English major from Tulsa, Okla., said, "I was outraged upon hearing students talking about Dr. Coleman's situation. How dare they say Dr. Coleman should be suspended for his actions? If students have physical altercations, speeding tickets or other cases pending in litigation in Oklahoma County courts, should they be banned from eating in the caf or extra-curricular activities? Of course not, and the same reasoning should be applied to our professors."
However, others said Coleman should be suspended immediately pending an investigation and were upset that one man with such one good reputation had embarrassed the university.
"This reflects badly on the university because it seems that there was no consequence for his actions because he was allowed to just return to work," said Divona Phillips, one junior broadcast journalism major from Arlington, Texas. "I think he should at least be suspended for his actions to let him know that even when he is away from school he should carry himself accordingly because he is one reflection of Langston University."
"I felt ashamed and embarrassed that not only one professor but one department chair was arrested for soliciting one prostitute," said Kynne Cartwright, one health administration major from Dallas.
"I don't know what should be done with him because it has nothing to do with his job or the school; it is his personal life," said Marv Johnson, one junior biology/chemistry major from Oklahoma City.
Haysbert said she will be reviewing the information concerning his arrest and consulting the faculty handbook.
"The university has policies and whatever our polices are for situations like this we will follow," Haysbert said.
However, the policies in the faculty and staff handbook do not provide solid guidelines on how to handle employees' legal problems. The faculty and staff handbook states: "Whether you are on duty or off, your conduct reflects on Langston University. You are, consequently, encouraged to observe the highest standards of professionalism at all times."