Tasering postpones Kevorkian appearance

Published: Monday, October 1, 2007 at 4:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 1, 2007 at 4:03 p.m.

The Tasering of a University of Florida at a public forum last month has prompted UF officials to postpone a visit by Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a controversial euthanasia advocate recently released from prison.

Kevorkian was slated to speak at UF Oct. 11, but the event has been rescheduled for Jan. 15, UF officials announced Monday. University officials want to review security and event management policies before Kevorkian's appearance, according to a news release.

The announcement comes two weeks after Andrew Meyer, a UF student, was shot with a Taser gun by UF Police at a forum with U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. During a question-and-answer session, Meyer's microphone was cut off after he used vulgar language and officers subsequently Tasered him when he resisted being removed from the University Auditorium.

The Tasering incident has prompted an independent review by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which will consider whether excessive force was used. UF is also assembling a faculty/student panel to review university security and events management procedures.

"While we all would like to see these matters resolved sooner rather than later, I believe we should allow adequate time to make any policy or protocol changes needed to ensure a safe and civil environment for full, free, diverse and lively discourse," UF President Bernie Machen said in a news release.

Like the Kerry forum, Kevorkian's visit is sponsored by Accent, UF's student-run speaker's bureau. The group plans to pay Kevorkian $50,000 for his speech.

Kevorkian's October appearance would have been his first since his release from prison, where he served eight years for second-degree murder in the poisoning of a man with Lou Gehrig's disease.

The Kevorkian event has drawn early opposition from pro life advocates, including the brother of the late Terri Schiavo. Schiavo died of dehydration in 2005 after being removed from her feeding tube.

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