San Jose State expels three students charged with hate crimes

Students referred to their black roommate as "three-fifths," put bike lock around his neck, wrote racial slurs on surfaces and flaunted the Confederate flag.
By Matt Bradwell   |   May 3, 2014 at 6:50 PM
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SAN JOSE, Calif., May 3 (UPI) -- Three white San Jose State students have been expelled after being charged with misdemeanor battery and hate crimes for racist treatment of their only black housemate. A fourth has been put on probation for the remainder of his time at the university.

All four students pled not guilty to the charges, brought about after their roommate's parents first noticed a Confederate flag in the living room and racial slurs scrawled on the walls. Campus officials were notified and an investigation was held.

Among the findings in the investigation were numerous racially charged incidents directed at the victim, Donald Williams Jr. Among the offenses were nicknaming the victim "three-fifths," a reference to the nineteenth century legislation that only counted a black votes as three-fifths the value of whites, and an incident where Williams was wrested to the ground while a bike lock was forced around his neck.

Retired judge LaDoris Cordel, who chaired the university task force charged with investigating the incidents, described the defendants expulsion as a "no brainer."

"They have no business being enrolled at SJSU," Cordel told the San Jose Mercury News.

In November, University President Mohammad Qayoumi released a statement admitting that he fell short in protecting Williams when the incidents first came to light.

"By failing to recognize the meaning of a Confederate flag, intervene earlier to stop the abuse or impose sanctions as soon as the gravity of the behavior became clear, we failed him," Qayoumi said. "I failed him"

The defendants face up to year in prison if convicted. The expelled students are banned from enrollment all all schools in the California state university system.

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