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Potsdam police, Clarkson U. spar over campus slashing

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POTSDAM — A man was slashed in a fight at Clarkson University late Wednesday or early Thursday, but full details have yet to emerge as police and school officials spar over how the incident was handled.

In a blotter item released to the media Friday morning, village police reported that “one student menaced several others with a knife, and then slashed one student in the hand before he was disarmed.”

Village police said they were not informed about the incident until 10:28 a.m. Thursday. No names were released, nor did police indicate whether any charges have been pressed in the case.

“The police department will be following up with university officials as to the nature of this incident and why it was not immediately reported to the police department by Campus Safety and Security,” the blotter item continued.

The newspaper was unable to confirm a report by WWNY-TV Channel 7 in which unnamed police sources described the incident as “horseplay,” telling the station that a 19-year-old male student slashed a 21-year-old male on the hand in a dispute over a hat.

The injured male did not require medical treatment, the station reported.

Calls to Potsdam Police Chief Kevin A. Bates went unreturned Friday afternoon. “He is aware” of the newspaper’s request for comment, a dispatcher said following the third call.

A Clarkson spokesman offered no details about the incident, but defended the university’s handling of the case.

“Clarkson Campus Safety and Security followed its usual protocol in reporting its activities to the village of Potsdam Police Department,” Michael P. Griffin, Clarkson’s director of news and digital content services, wrote in an e-mail.

“We have cooperated fully with village police on their follow-up,” Mr. Griffin continued. “We refer all questions about their satisfaction with the follow-up and actions taken by the university’s Campus Safety and Security to the village police.”

“The statement I sent is all we have for you on this,” Mr. Griffin replied when pressed for further details by a reporter.

“I’d recommend speaking to the chief of police. He can answer your questions best.”

Staff writer Christopher Robbins contributed to this story.

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