In Other Ivory Towers: Students convicted of robbery explain need for tuition money

Instead of continuing their educations at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Andrew Butler and Christopher Avery are now headed to prison for at least 20 years after they attempted armed robberies of two banks this past summer. Their reason for the hold ups? Tuition.

Avery and Butler pleaded guilty this past Monday to two charges of aggravated robbery and six charges of kidnapping. When asked by the judge why they had taken such extreme measures, both men said they were trying to raise money to pay for their tuition. “I was stressed out,” Butler said. “I needed more money for college.” Added Avery, “I thought I had nothing to lose.”

Tuition at the University costs in the range of $10,000 per year. The men said they faced two options: either drop out or plan a way to get more money.

Suited up in black and carrying guns, they first tried to rob an Ohio Checkcashers branch in Mount Auburn, Ohio, but could not breach the store’s security, even after firing shots at the windows. Avery and Butler fled the scene.

The following day, the men stormed a second bank. Several customers were in the bank at the time Avery and Butler entered, again wearing masks and carrying guns. They fled the scene with over $130,000, but were then caught when a civilian witnessed them switching cars in a small town, and reported them for suspicious behavior.

Their twenty year prison terms are set to begin by the end of the year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Body of Harvard student found in med school building

Last Friday, a sophomore at Harvard University was found dead in a medical school building around 11 p.m. John Edwards ’10 was a resident of the school’s Kirkland House. At the time his body was found, his head was wrapped in a plastic bag, a jar of possibly toxic chemicals nearby.

Police said they had not identified the cause of Edwards’ death, and had not determined whether or not foul play was involved. He was pronounced dead at the scene by medical examiners.

Edwards was an active member of the Harvard community. He conducted stem-cell research at the local Brigham and Women’s hospital, in addition to participating in numerous non-profit organizations. “John was really generous,” said Alex Chang ’10, Edwards’ roommate. “He was very open about anything on his mind.”’

The deceased student, who had also been training for next year’s Boston marathon, was planning on a major in molecular cellular biology, according to Richard Losick, professor of biology, who had been teaching him this semester. “I was expecting to get to know him well,” Losick said.

The incident brought to light the University’s revamped support services available to the entire community. In a campus-wide e-mail, interim dean David Philbeam encouraged students to take advantage of either after-hours urgent care or a helpline staffed by health professionals.

The Harvard Crimson