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Tiffin University to screen documentary about wrongfully imprisoned man




Tiffin University

Tiffin, Ohio — On Feb. 15, Tiffin University’s undergraduate chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project (OIP-u:TU) will host a screening of “Spiz,” a documentary about the life and artwork of Dean Gillispie. Gillispie spent 20 years in prison for crimes he did not commit and was officially declared a wrongfully imprisoned man by the state of Ohio in December 2021. The film’s director, Barry Rowen, and Pierce Reed of the OIP will lead a discussion following the screening.

Gillispie was wrongfully charged and convicted with three counts of rape in the Dayton, Ohio area in the 1990s. After his release in 2011, he spent years working to clear his name and was eventually offered reparations. He has since gained national recognition for his artwork, with pieces featured in prominent places such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Barry Rowen, the film’s director, is a writer, director, and editor based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. He has worked on projects for artists such as Halsey, Katy Perry, Jason Aldean, and Rascal Flatts. The film, premiering in 2018 at the Over-the-Rhine Film Festival, tells the story of Gillispie’s wrongful imprisonment and highlights his artwork.

Dr. Steven Hurwitz, Professor of Psychology and Criminal Justice and Faculty Advisor for OIP-u:TU, says, “TU has a special connection with Dean. During his 2017 exhibition on campus, several classes from across the University spoke with him at the gallery. Many students were touched by his story, so it will be a pleasure to have him back.”

The event is free and open to the public and will take place on campus at 7 p.m. in the Osceola Theatre. The Ohio Innocence Project is the state’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to freeing the wrongfully imprisoned and reforming the justice system. Tiffin University is proud to house an undergraduate student chapter of an organization doing such impactful work.

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