Ellen Hyde and her family will never forget


Ellen Hyde

Rick Childress

Ellen Hyde saw something, said something and feels that she’s still suffering for it. 

“I have anxiety on a good day,” Hyde said in June 2018. “It got significantly worse. Especially this past semester. It’s consuming. I’m just a lot more anxious and nervous about things.”

Hyde and her family say that UK put her in immediate danger by the way the university handled Daniel Earle and his alleged death threats against their Spanish class.

After the incident, Hyde reported Earle to UK Police and to the Office of Student Conduct. In turn, that office told her that they had given Earle her information—before he was arrested or expelled.

This upset Hyde and her family. The man who had threatened their class with death now had Ellen’s name. The fear of “revenge” from Earle changed Ellen drastically, she said.

“That was a huge mistake,” said Maureen, Ellen’s mother. “It is probably one of the biggest regrets of my life because of the impact that it had on Ellen.”

UK officials have said they were lawfully obligated to give Ellen’s name to Earle. If they had not given him her name, university officials wouldn’t be able to use Ellen’s testimony in a disciplinary hearing that could expel Earle. Ellen said the university put her at immediate risk.

Chuck Hyde, Ellen’s father, called the university relentlessly after the incident, but to no avail. Many in the administration had stopped returning his calls. He was frustrated and feared for the safety of his daughter.

“I’m finding reasons to text her, just to hear from her to know that she’s OK,” Chuck said after the incident. “Because I’m scared s**tless. It changed all of us.”

Out of fear for Ellen’s safety, two professors canceled classes that Ellen shared with Earle. Hyde’s professors told her that plain-clothes officers would be present at her classes and Earle was forbidden from going on campus.

Ellen was afraid to be alone. She was worried Earle “would take revenge.” Her roommates started deadbolting their door and Ellen wouldn’t go out to her car at night. She had trouble sleeping and she was always looking over her shoulder. Ellen said she worried that Earle would “show up with a gun and kill people.”

Well over a year after the incident, the family still has questions. They said the situation was avoidable  and that UK did not have Ellen’s best interests in mind. The family has asked how Earle, a man who’d been banned from EKU’s campus and was already expelled from UK once before, be let back into UK when there was no sign that he’d given up his defensive and threatening behavior.  

Chuck said giving his daughter’s name to Earle was a mistake that he’s worried the university will repeat in another violent situation. The professor’s name should have been given instead of Ellen’s as a proxy, he said. The university should not “hide behind” its students. But he and Ellen both said they have little hope for change.

“At the end of the day universities are in it for themselves and protecting themselves and not their students,” Ellen said. “You can report things a thousand times and no one’s going to do anything. It’s about maintaining an image and protecting themselves which is really sad.”

Ellen was a senior when Earle allegedly threatened her class. She graduated in May 2018 and returned to her native Michigan. 

The Hydes first brought the story of Daniel Earle to the Kernel in late 2017. The first report was published in February 2018. Check it out on the link below: