Members of the Black Students Union at San Jose State University rallied Thursday on campus to demand answers over the reported tormenting of an African-American freshman that included putting a bike lock around his neck, hanging Nazi symbols around the apartment, referred to him as 3/5ths and writing the N-word on a dry eraser board in the suite that they shared.
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges against three students accused of committing the racist acts against the victim in an on-campus housing complex. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West identified the suspects as college freshmen Colin Warren, 18, of Woodacre in Marin County in the Bay Area; Joseph Bomgardner, 19, of Clovis in Fresno County, and Logan Beaschler, 18, of Bakersfield at the Southern Edge of San Joaquin County in between Fresno and Los Angeles.
The were suspended on Thursday after being charged with battery and a hate crime against their black roommate.
University President Mohammad Qayoumi said in an email he was outraged and saddened by the allegations.
“They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility. The three students suspected of this conduct have been suspended, effective today,” Qayoumi stated.
Although San Jose prides itself for being committed to diversity, only 4% of the 34,000 students are black. During the rally the BSU made several demands, which included opening a support center for African-American students. Students were also skeptical about the university’s response.
“You’ve been telling us for years that things are fine,” student Gary Daniels, 21, said. “But this is a hostile environment for black students.”
The teens involved have not yet been arrested on the misdemeanor charges, but are in the process of turning themselves in. If convicted, they face a maximum of one year in jail.