Somebody give her a medal

Eugene, OR -24 Feb. 2009- Staff. Leslie Michten, a 21 year old Junior at Oregon University, has officially been expelled for behavior that university administrators described as “outrageous and unacceptable in a community of scholars.”‘

Michten, who until recently majored in Art History and Literature and was also active in several campus-based independent and experimental theatre groups, was expelled for numerous code of conduct violations relating to a “Life Character” performance which was stretching into its seventh week.

The goal of the ambitious project was for Michten to assume every Daniel Day-Lewis character simultaneously for as long as possible.  Michten and a fringe theatre group, The Mod Bods of EarlCastle, concocted the idea after studying Mr. Day-Lewis’ method of “Deep Character Immersion,” which proscribes a gradual, though eventually complete, adoption of a character on and off the set.

As a new twist, Michten and her associates decided that she would meld portions of every character Mr. Lewis had played in the recent past into a single personality.  She would then take on this personality to a greater extent each day while her crew introduced supporting characters at random and filmed the whole experiment.

“We thought it would be totally sweet and meta to invert the character development process and dramatic presentation,” said Mod Bod’s of EarlCastle’s Associate Director, Arnold Binsly.  ”The idea is to create an overhanging dialogue that supersedes even the archetype itself.  Here, though, we ran into a lot of resistance.”

Indeed, when Michten began to have violent outbursts during classes, teachers and students alike took a dim view of the project.  Psychology Professor Dr. Albert Cheng recalls the first time Michten assumed Mr. Lewis’ persona in lecture.

“She threw a chair across the amphitheater and began screaming about a milkshake,” he said.  ”She had drawn a mustache on her upper lip, and she was dressed in some thrift store overalls.  When I asked her to stop, she only became more aggressive, calling me a ‘nancy boy’ and a ‘Baby from a basket’ and strutting around the front of the class.”

While Michten eventually came out of her character that day, as she spent more and more time as Mr. Day-Lewis, the disturbances only increased in size and frequency.  Finally, after the Provost delivered the last of many written complaints and Michten had failed to appear at several mandatory disciplinary hearings, University Policy arrived at her dorm room to escort her off campus.

At this point, however, Michten had built a shanty outdoors and was pretending to stalk deer in the main commons, witnesses say.  When officers approached, some say she attempted to attack them with a stick.  Accounts differ, but witnesses largely agree that Michten started the altercation that resulted in her arrest.  She was formally expelled shortly after she was taken into custody.

Neither the University Police or the University would comment on the confrontation, as it still under investigation, but they provided the following statement via email:

“The University is a center for scholarship, and it is our duty to ensure that every student is able to depend on an orderly and safe environment to learn and grow.  We will continue to enforce the Student Code of Conduct to fulfill this duty and prevent behavior which is outrageous and unacceptable in a community of scholars.”

Michten could not be reached for comment.

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