Spotted: Former president seen on campus

It was a dark, cold morning — roughly 2 a.m., to be specific. Senior Devon Mahieu was taking a jog around campus as part of her daily morning routine.

She always starts from her apartment and makes her way to the woods on the opposite end of campus, where the Kettering Magnetics Laboratory hides in peaceful solitude.

Except this time, something was different.

Mahieu had stopped to tie her shoe near the lab when she heard a crackling nearby. She got out her bear deterrent, turned off her music and crouched behind some bushes.

When she looked out, she saw a shadowy figure rustling through the grass around the lab, seeming to search for something. Mahieu watched the figure wander in, out, around and over the lab for roughly 30 minutes before she recognized the figure to be Gary Russi, former Oakland University president.

She posted a detailed account on Yik Yak, which members of The Oakland Roast staff saw and went to investigate.

After Mahieu finished Yakking she quietly left the scene. As she did so, all she could hear was the faint sound of his singing float through the tree leaves.

“What is love? Baby don’t hurt me… don’t hurt me… no more…”


Russi served an unprecedented 18-year term as president of Oakland University, beginning in 1996. He was contracted to work until 2014, but retired in August 2013.

He announced his retirement on June 12, 2013, the same day that his wife Beckie Francis was terminated from her position as OU’s women’s basketball head coach for allegedly emotionally and mentally abusing players.

It was a mess for the media, the university and the university’s powerful couple.

In August Russi left quietly with almost a quarter-million OU dollars (legally taken, of course), and no one heard from him for months. In March 2014 The Oakland Post reported that he was happily living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota as Chief of Staff of Celebrate Community Church, the largest church in the state.

It’s been nearly a year since then. Why is he in Michigan?


While there can only be speculation on what the former president was doing back at his old stomping grounds, one thing is for certain: Something is amiss.

What was Gary Russi doing back on campus, when he is supposed to be living in South Dakota? Why was he at the magnetics lab, specifically? What sort of sinister plot is he concocting — is his wife involved? When will Leonardo DiCaprio finally win a damn Oscar? Why did Zane leave One Direction? Why can’t Josh Soltman get a respectable girlfriend?

These questions are on many minds, and we will do our best to answer them.

Jackson Gilbert, Kingslayer, contributed to this report.

So did Grace Turner, unicorn whisperer; Shelby Tankersley, combat tank; Jimmy Halmhuber, Greek correspondent; Dani Cojocari, cat manager; Parker Simmons, man of justice; Kevin Teller, staff rockstar; and Selah Fischer, DIY addict.