Matthew Rouch, 57, was arrested Thursday on a 24-hour investigative hold. Prosecuting Attorney Bob Rice has not yet filed any charges in the case, and has not returned telephone calls asking for comment.
The post: “…by October, I’ll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high powered rifle – with a good scope, and probably a gatling gun as well.”
School officials and the Nodaway County Sheriff took the post seriously, as did an editorial in the student newspaper, The Northwest Missourian:
“We will not even acknowledge the possible joking tone that may have been lost in this post because, honestly, we don’t care,” wrote Editor-in-Chief Trey Williams.
“We are shocked that a University professor would willingly post something so incredibly unwise, and that it went under the radar. Granted the post was removed later that day after comments from other faculty were made.
“But that is not a joke you make, and we hope that’s all that it was. That is not something you say, no matter how frustrating your students may get. That’s not something you throw around at any point, on any forum, for any reason.”
School officials say they will now will wait for results of a law enforcement investigation before taking any other action. Rouch’s booking photograph appeared among a regular submission of all booking photos from the Nodaway County Jail.
The booking photograph was slugged with the charge, as are all such photographs. Rouch’s photograph was titled “Rouch-Matthew-Investigative-Hold-Terroristic-Threats.” No such charge had been filed by Friday morning.
Northwest emailed a message to all students, faculty, and staff Thursday saying it would not tolerate threats or violence and that the teacher had been removed from campus.
In an online poll of students at “rate my professors dot com,” Rouch received relatively high marks. His overall quality rated a perfect 4.0. He also received a top score for “clarity.” Students gave him an average of 3.9 on “helpfulness,” and 3.0 on “easiness.”