Three San Jose State students were suspended after being charged with an alleged hate crime and battery against an African American student, school officials said Thursday afternoon.
The three white students are accused of various actions, incluidng taunting the 17-year-old victim with racial epithets and knocking him down while trying to place a bicycle lock around his neck, according to a report by university police.
A confederate flag was also displayed in the apartment the students shared and a racial slur was written on an eraser board, according to a copy of the report posted online by the San Jose Mercury News.
The confederate flag was draped around a cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley in the living room, the report says. The slur and flag were discovered by the victim after he returned from a weekend at his parents’ home.
Late Wednesday, prosecutors filed misdemeanor hate crime and battery charges against the three students. They were suspended Thursday.
University spokeswoman Pat Harris told The Times that two of the students were removed from the dorm as soon the incident was reported to housing staff on Oct. 14. She said the third student was taken out of the room this week because he was not initially named as a suspect in the case.
The incidents allegedly occurred between Aug. 20 and Oct. 13, Harris said. The four students are freshmen.
The case has sparked shock and outrage on the campus.
On Thursday, students held a rally in front of the statues of former San Jose State students Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised theirs fists with black gloves in protest on the medal podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
University President Mohammad Qayoumi said Thursday that he was “outraged and saddened by these allegations.”
“They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility,” Qayoumi said in a statement.
He said the university would conduct a review of its diversity programs and safety policies regarding campus housing.
Harris said the school would conduct administrative hearings over the next several months that could result in the three students being sanctioned or permanently barred from the California State University system.