A Hillsborough circuit judge is calling on the University of South Florida to live up to its recent ranking as a top "veteran friendly" university.
Judge Greg Holder has asked USF President Judy Genshaft to readmit a student veteran who was expelled after an off-campus incident in August 2014.
Holder said the charges against former Army Staff Sergeant Clay Allred were serious - threatening a store clerk with a firearm and later discharging the weapon into the air - but Allred’s actions were directly related to his combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When Allred was accepted into the Veterans Treatment Court, he admitted his guilt, accepted responsibility and was sentenced to two years on house arrest followed by three years of probation.
Now, after a year of court supervision and treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that had gone undiagnosed, Holder said the former Green Beret deserves a second chance to complete his degree.
In his letter dated Nov. 13, 2015, the judge requested that USF readmit Allred as an online student so he can finish his senior year. Holder even offered to amend Allred’s house arrest to prohibit him from going onto USF property.
“I’m providing whatever protections Dr. Genshaft or her personnel might deem appropriate,” Holder said. “So, that hopefully consistent with USF status as the number two veteran friendly school in this nation, we can get this man back as a member of the ‘Bull Nation.’”
A USF spokeswoman said the university has received Holder’s letter, but could not say if Genshaft has read it. The university declined comment on Allred’s status citing federal privacy laws and added that “USF does not offer online exclusive undergraduate programs.”
Along with his letter, Holder included 40 pages of supporting documentation, including Allred’s citation for the Army Bronze Star Medal awarded for his service in Afghanistan training members of the Afghan National Police.