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."
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.