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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

Two members of AU Swim and Dive team charged with theft, pleaded not guilty to charge 

Both stole $1,159.33 worth of merchandise on Jan. 4 said Prosecuting Attorney, Chris Tunnell
The Collegian
The Ashland University swimming and diving competes in the campus’ recreational center.

Freshmen members of the Ashland University Swim and Dive Team have been accused of stealing around $1,300 worth of goods from Walmart, according to court documents from the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas.  

Nina Nephew and Emily O’Brien, both freshmen, have pleaded not guilty and have made bond, which was set at $3,000 on Jan. 9.  

In a bond setting hearing for O’Brien on Jan. 9, they were both arrested on Jan. 7 at the Ashland Walmart store with $146.31 of merchandise.   

“Eventually, they would admit they were in Walmart for the purpose of stolen merchandise,” said Prosecuting Attorney, Chris Tunnell.  

In Nephew’s bond setting hearing on Jan. 9, the store’s loss prevention team investigated the alleged theft on Jan. 4 and recognized both on Jan. 7, when they had returned.  

Both stole $1,159.33 worth of merchandise on Jan. 4 said Tunnell.  

Tunnell said Nephew and O’Brien admitted to stealing from Walmart on multiple occasions prior to these incidents.  

“They indicated they were doing this because they had friends who have stolen from Walmart, and they have not been caught,” said Tunnell.  

The merchandise was also recovered from the dorm rooms by the City of Ashland Police Department in Clayton Hall.  

Tunnell said the Dean of Students at AU, Nicole Dyer, was contacted to help investigate other students who engaged in theft.  

The Collegian reached out to Dyer via email. She did not respond.  

The Collegian reached out to the attorneys representing Nephew and O’Brien were not available for comment. 

The Collegian reached out to Nephew and O’Brien for comment. Both did not respond.  

Ashland University’s Director of Athletic Communications, Dusty Sloan, gave The Collegian a statement on Jan. 11 regarding the case. 

“The Ashland University athletic department is aware of the allegations against the student-athletes on the swimming and diving team. As is the case with any legal proceeding, we will let the judicial process play out. Therefore, there will be no comment from anyone in the department at this time,” read the statement. 

Hueston Holder, the AU swim and dive coach, declined to comment about the situation.  

According to the AU Athletics Student Handbook, there are two types of violations, and Level 1 includes theft. 

If a student-athlete is charged with a felony, the athlete will be immediately suspended from all athletic-related events, and conviction results in immediate dismissal from the team and loss of athletic aid from the university.  

According to Dr. Rob Pool, VP of student affairs, when the university is aware of a crime committed by a student in the community, they will review the police reports and charges and consider any risks to the community and campus.  

“Then, we launch a parallel student conduct case, if it’s a student, and cooperate with law enforcement or authorities to ensure our process does not interfere with theirs; often, campus conduct cases are delayed until the legal authorities authorize our internal investigation,” said Pool. 

If a student is convicted of crimes through the courts, they are subject to AU’s student conduct process and are held responsible for related AU Student Handbook policies.    

The next hearing date for both Nephew and O’Brien is on Feb. 16 and will be held via Zoom.

Attached are the court complaint documents and bond postings for O’Brien and Nephew.  

Emily O’Brien Bond Posting

Nina Nephew Complaint

Emily O’Brien Complaint

Nina Nephew Bond Posting

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    PeligroJan 15, 2024 at 2:16 pm

    Very disappointed in this story – it doesn’t benefit anyone except for the writer (copying and pasting a story is easy for anyone). As a former JDM student, I find this distasteful. So sorry to see this get printed. I thought we were better than that.