An alleged hate crime at a San Jose State University dorm has lead to criminal charge and suspensions. Marianne Favro has the latest.
A fourth student has been suspended in what's become a national story involving students charged over allegations that they bullied a black roommate, chained a bike lock around his neck and called him names that date back to the days of slavery.
On Friday, San Jose State University spokeswoman Pat Harris said that a fourth student, an 18-year-old from Los Angeles, is the latest student to be suspended. This fourth student was to be charged in the case, but cannot be named or described because he was a juvenile at the time of the alleged incidents, Harris said.
The announcement comes on the heels of Thursday's suspensions of three other white SJSU students: Colin Warren, 18, of Woodacre, Joseph Bomgardner, 19, of Clovis in Fresno County, and Logan Beaschler, 18, of Bakersfield. The trio was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges. If convicted, the students face a maximum of a year in county jail.
Also Friday the president of the university Mohammed QayoumiI met with Reverend Jethroe Moore, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP.
QayoumiI said the two agreed to the following actions:
At a news conference Thursday, Vice President of Student Affairs Warren Nance called their alleged behavior against an 18-year-old African-American roommate "shocking and outrageous."
Some of that behavior, between August and mid-October, included hanging Confederate flags and pictures of Adolph Hitler, calling him "three fifths" and "fraction," terms that date back to how the U.S. Census used to count slaves in the South, and putting a U-shaped bike lock around his neck for ten minutes, according to prosecutors.
The African-American student still attends school, and his family sent out a brief statement (PDF) on Friday, saying, they are "deeply disturbed by the horrific behaviors that have taken place against our son."
To date, Beaschler is the only suspected to have been arrested and released. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West told NBC Bay Area that his first court date is set for Jan. 6.
Attorney Dek Ketchum, is representing Colin Warren, and didn't immediately respond for comment. It's unclear who is representing Bomgardner or the fourth student suspended Friday.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a major civil rights group based out of Alabama, released a statement Friday. It said: "The San Jose State University incident highlights a disturbing pattern of ignorance and intolerance… Students, administrators and communities must understand that hateful actions, language and symbols...have no place in centers of learning or anywhere else in America today.”
The news of the roommates' behavior in the Campus Village dorm suite has saddened San Jose State leaders and angered many in the students' African-American community.
"You've been telling us for years that things are fine," student Gary Daniels, 21, said angrily at a Thursday news conference at SJSU. "But this is a hostile environment for black students."
And for the second day, students from the Black Student Union rallied in front of massive statues of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the center of campus. Smith and Carlos put San Jose State on the map during the 1968 Olympics when they raised their fists in a “Black Power” salute. At the time, both Olympians attended San Jose State.
Bay City News contributed to this report.