A celebrated Barton College track and field athlete said Tuesday that injuries from an assault at a fraternity party will prevent her from competing at nationals.
Jamina Morris, a 19-year-old freshman, is the first track and field athlete in the college’s history to hold NCAA provisional marks in three events, 100- and 400-meter hurdles and triple jump.
The Edison, New Jersey native earned the coveted status at the JCSU Invitational track meet held at Johnson C. Smith University on April 9.
But within hours of returning to campus, Morris suffered a broken nose and a concussion, reportedly as a result of two blows delivered by a fellow Barton College student.
Raekwon Fiddermon, 21, was arrested by Wilson police and charged with assault inflicting serious injury following the 2:40 a.m. incident at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house at 606 W. Nash St.
Morris said she was attending a party when Fiddermon struck her twice.
The police report states neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.
“The police showed up and saw that my nose was crooked,” Morris said. “The EMT came and drove me to the hospital. My nose is still in pain, but I have medicine that the hospital gave me for the pain and just in case of an infection.”
“This prevented me from participating in track and field, which I have been doing very well breaking a lot of records and doing a lot for Barton on the athletic side,” Morris said. “Now I am trying to get cleared to run again from the concussion.”
After the incident, Morris stayed off-campus with another teammate.
Morris said she had not been involved in a romantic relationship with Fiddermon.
The incident, Morris said, may stem from ongoing issues Morris had with other women at the campus who were friends with Fiddermon.
Morris said that she has lived off-campus since the incident instead of her third-floor room at the Waters Hall student housing at the campus.
“I did not want to be here. I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Morris said. “I don’t think they are going to do anything, It is just a little nerve-wracking to have a lot of people that dislike me that I am living with every day.”
Jared Tice, dean of students at Barton College, sent an email to Morris hours after the incident acknowledging that she had been assaulted and sustained injuries.
“The College is here to support you in any way we can during this time,” Tice wrote, followed by a reference to college resources in the student handbook and an offer for guidance.
“The accused student, Raekwon Fiddermon, has been notified of forthcoming conduct charges from this alleged incident and has immediately been restricted from accessing your residence hall or directly or indirectly contacting you,” Tice wrote.
Morris was asked not to have any contact with Fiddermon.
“This is to prevent concerns for personal safety, well-being and/or fears of confrontation during this process,” Tice wrote.
Morris was advised that the college will be investigating the matter, including interviewing her and witnesses.
The Wilson Times obtained Tice’s email from Morris. Barton spokeswoman Kathy Daughety said the college could not discuss the incident due to federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulations.
“Matters of personal integrity and safety are extremely important to Barton College,” Daughety said in a prepared statement. “We have a clear process for handling student conduct issues in accordance with Barton College Policy and FERPA guidelines. We do not discuss student conduct issues before, during or after the College’s internal conduct process.”
Morris said she is not sure what would have made Fiddermon strike her.
“I have no clue. I think he just got very angry,” Morris said. “He texted me afterwards and apologized.”
Morris had planned to major in biology at Barton and was attending on a track and field scholarship, but now she just wants to finish out the year and leave the college.
“I just feel like this environment might not be a good fit for me,” Morris said. “I am doing pretty well on the athletic side, but socially I am having a very hard time, so I don’t want to be here. I don’t feel comfortable being here.”
The incident left her disappointed that she could not participate in nationals in Florida after the conclusion of the school year.
“Everyone doesn’t get the chance to make it to nationals and I have been working really hard,” said Morris. “It’s not all going to waste yet, but it could all possibly go to waste. I’m not training right now, which is not helping. I might get out of shape. It’s really difficult for me right now.”
The Saturday before the incident was a great day for Morris.
“I did the 100 hurdles and the 400 hurdles and did my personal best ever in both events,” said Morris. “It’s terrible and it’s disappointing. I feel like all the good I do on the track is always overshadowed with something bad. Everyone heard that ‘Oh, she did great, she made it to nationals’ and then everyone heard that ‘Oh, she got punched in the face,’ so it’s like all the good stuff that I do just got overshadowed.”
Morris is scheduled to have surgery at Wilson Medical Center to reset her nose today.
“The doctor said that my nasal bone collapsed in from the punch so he just has to push it back into place so it can heal,” said Morris. “My breathing is all right, but I feel a little more restricted than normal.”
Morris said she just wants for the situation to be over.
“I just wish that Raekwon will feel remorseful for what he did...and hoping that Raekwon does not hit any other female or anyone ever again,” Morris said.