Associated Students President Cervin Morris, 20, was arrested Friday night for allegedly hitting another man in the head with a beer bottle during a fight at his apartment.
Sgt. Steve Johnson of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol said that at 11:45 p.m. deputies responded to reports of fighting at the Penthouse apartment complex at 6621 Abrego Rd. When the deputies arrived at the scene, Johnson said, they were contacted by several people, two of whom were visibly injured. One man had a bloody nose, and the other was bleeding from an injury to his head, Johnson said.
Johnson said the officers calmed the people at the scene and were able to determine that both of the injured men were 20-year-old I.V. residents who knew Morris. He said further investigation revealed that Morris had allegedly punched the first man in the nose and then hit the second in the head with a beer bottle, inflicting a serious head wound.
Morris, released on bail Sunday evening, said the incident was something that “escalated from nothing,” but he would not comment as to what specifically caused the fight. He also said alcohol was not a factor, and that the bottle in question was just lying around.
“It was just an altercation with an acquaintance of mine, and one thing led to another,” Morris said. “I think it’s being blown out of proportion. It wasn’t a huge fight; it was just two people.”
Morris was taken into custody at the scene and charged with one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon. He was then transported to the Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was held on $20,000 bail.
Morris said the man who was hit with the bottle sustained no lasting injuries and does not plan to press charges. Morris denied punching the other man in the face and said the man suffered an accidental blow to the face while attempting to break up the scuffle.
On Sunday evening the IVFP would not make available the police report or the names of the injured parties. Johnson said further information could be obtained through Sgt. Chris Pappas, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. public information officer. Pappas did not return calls seeking comment Sunday evening.
None of the residents in the neighboring units could provide any additional information about the incident when contacted Sunday afternoon, but several pieces of broken glass remained on the walkway in front of Morris’ apartment.
“I do admit my mistakes, and I plan to move on,” Morris said. “If I could take it back, I would.”
While he said he feels that the incident is being blown out of proportion, Morris said he is concerned that students will take any exaggerated rumors they hear about the case at face value.
“I’m worried that they will, but I’m prepared to face that,” Morris said. “I expect people to see me as a student. We all make mistakes.”
Despite any misgivings about possible reactions from the student body, Morris said he plans to continue serving as A.S. president.
“I’ll be continuing my schoolwork and my A.S. work,” Morris said.
A.S. External Vice President of Local Affairs Jared Renfro said his time working with Morris in A.S. has left him with a favorable impression of Morris’ character and students should “not jump to any conclusions or make any assumptions” regarding Morris’ future legal situation.
“All my professional interaction with Cervin, as far as handling business with A.S. [is concerned], has always been very professional and even-tempered,” Renfro said. “I think he conducts his A.S. business very professionally and he’s always been very respectful to administrators and students.”
On the other hand, Renfro said, Morris may need to work on his temper in situations outside of the office.
“Maybe he’ll have to take some anger management sessions,” Renfro said.
Renfro also said the upcoming A.S. special election, in which students will be voting on whether to raise the A.S. base fee, is a more important issue than Morris’ arrest.
“This isn’t as big of a problem as the financial situation Associated Students will be in if [the base fee initiative] doesn’t pass. That’s something I’m certainly concerned about.”
Johnson said the police report detailing the incident will be forwarded to the district attorney, who will decide whether to file charges against Morris.
Reached at home Sunday afternoon, Dean of Students Yonnie Harris declined to comment about Morris’ arrest until she is able to talk to law enforcement about the incident.
Carolyn Buford, associate dean of students for the Office of Student Life, also declined to comment, as did Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Young, who said he had not heard about the incident as of Sunday afternoon.
Associated Students Executive Director Don Daves-Rougeaux could not be reached for comment Sunday.
— Staff writers Jason La and Kaitlin Pike contributed to this report.