AU student allegedly harassed by football players on campus

AU student allegedly harassed by football players on campus
(Source: Elizabeth White/WTVM)
(Source: Elizabeth White/WTVM)

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - An Auburn University student says head football coach Gus Malzahn and assistant athletic director of football David Gunn have both called to apologize to her for the way she was treated by two AU football players Tuesday morning.

A source within the AU Athletic Department confirms with News Leader 9 the two phone calls were made to the student by Malzahn and Gunn.

The victim, Ashley Ozyurt, 25, shared her story exclusively on Tuesday night.

She says she uses a service dog to help her cope with PTSD, brought on by her being sexually assaulted while she was in the military from the ages of 21 to 23. Ozyurt said she is not a combat veteran and she never deployed. News Leader 9 is working to verify Ozyurt's claims that she was discharged from military service and whether or not she had PTSD.

Ozyurt says she was on her way to class inside Haley Center when she was harassed by two AU football players. 

Her story was posted by Service Dog Memes on Facebook and has received numerous comments and shares. Her story is posted below.

At 10:30am today I walked into the Halley Center on my way to class. As I was walking I heard people behind me whistling and making kissing noises at my service dog. I ignored it like I usually do for about 10 feet and they didn't not stop. I turned around and said to two Auburn University football players "Please don't distract my service dog." Player number [omitted] moved towards me and proceeded to yell, "What do you want? HUH? Whats wrong with you, nobody's bothering YOU. What are you gonna do? HUH?" I opened my mouth but no words could escape. My hyperventilating only seemed to fuel their verbal assault. When I didn't speak, my service dog began to drag me away from the situation, one of them yelled, "THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT [expletive]!"

At that point, in front of dozens of people, my PTSD took over and I withered to a crying mess. I went to the nearest safe place, the Office of Accessibility and reported the student's football numbers that they were wearing their FB sweat suits and backpacks. [omitted], the main attacker, and his hype man [omitted]. I attempted to attend my first class, but after 30 minutes of crying and humiliating myself further, I knew I needed to get home.

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.

Mike Clardy, AU's Director of Communications, released this statement late Tuesday night: 

Auburn University condemns any behavior that is demeaning to those with disabilities. We're investigating the reports and will take all appropriate action once all the facts are known.

Ozyurt said Malzahn told her during their phone call that the situation would be dealt with.

The two alleged players in this incident are not being identified in this report until they are properly identified through the Auburn Athletic Department.

The Facebook post from Service Dog Memes was first reported by the sport/humor website Lightly Buzzed.

This is a developing story; stay tuned for more details.

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