SAN JOSE, Calif. (TheBlaze/AP) — Three white students at San Jose State University face misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges after authorities say they harassed a black roommate by outfitting their dormitory suite with photographs of Adolf Hitler, a Confederate flag, barricading him in his room, and fastening a bicycle lock around his neck and claiming they lost the key.
Santa Clara County prosecutors filed the charges late Wednesday against Logan Beaschler and Colin Warren, both 18, and Joseph Bomgardner, 19. The young men each face up to a year in jail if convicted.
University President Mohammad Qayoumi said in a statement Thursday that the suspects have been suspended.
“I am outraged and saddened by these allegations. They are utterly inconsistent with our long cherished history of tolerance, respect for diversity and personal civility,” he said.
The victim, now 18, moved into the four-bedroom suite in August with seven other young men, all of whom are white. The harassment began after all the roommates had attended an orientation that included cultural sensitivity training, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The suspects reportedly referred to their black roommate as “three-fifths” and “fraction,” a reference to former constitutional provision that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person.
Hundreds of students reportedly attended a campus rally protesting the alleged racially-charged abuse. William Nance, vice president of student affairs, said he shares the students’ “frustration” and “sense of disgust.”