San Jose State College (SJSU) has reportedly expelled three of four students charged with racist bullying of a Black classmate, Donald Williams Jr., according to the San Jose Mercury News. The fourth student had his suspension extended, requiring him to attend counseling and remain on probation for the rest of his college tenure.
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Last November, then-freshman Williams reported that the students subjected him to constant abuse, which included wrestling him to the ground, fastening a bike lock around his neck, calling him racist names, locking him in his room, and showing him the Confederate flag.
The discovery spurred a firestorm in the community.
After an internal investigation, the students received misdemeanor battery and hate crime charges, even though they plead not guilty. The students are also banned for life from enrolling in any California State University colleges, per university documents.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge who anchored a task force investigating the incident. “They have no business being enrolled at SJSU.”
However, a lawyer for one of the students, who is underage, says college officials conducted a biased review of the evidence.
“We were very disappointed with the school’s process,” said Eric Geffon. “It was clear early on they had already made up their mind.”
Along with the minor, the expelled students include Logan Beaschler and Colin Warren. Joseph Bomgardner is the suspended student. Bomgardener received his punishment without admitting to having partaking in the attacks.
“It is for the balance of the school year, which is substantially different from how the other students were treated by the San Jose State University administration,” said Sam Polverino, his lawyer, about Bomgardener’s lighter sentence. “That may give an inkling of the participation or lack of it of my client.”
San Jose State found that the students violated six university rules, including jeopardizing Williams’ safety. Geffon contends that the incident was just part of a series of harmless pranks the men saw on Comedy Central. He also denied they were racist in nature.
“The first person in the dorm who had a bike lock put around his neck was my client, who is White,” Geffon said. “It wasn’t a racially motivated act.”
Campus police reports state that the students nicknamed Williams “Three-Fifths” (an apparent reference to the Three-Fifths law, which once counted Blacks as only a fraction of a person). They called him “Fraction” when he protested the name.
Williams’ parents reported his claims to the school after they found a Confederate flag placed over an Elvis Presley cardboard cutout in their son’s suite and a dry-erase board with the N-word on it.
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