The San Jose Mercury News reports the expelled students are Logan Beaschler, Colin Warren and a juvenile — the victim was then-17-year-old Donald Williams Jr. The university found that three violated school rules and put the victim’s safety in jeopardy.
The fourth student, Joseph Bomgardner, was suspended for one year. He also faces other sanctions and must take five counseling sessions.
All four white students are accused of putting a u-shaped bike lock around their roommate’s neck and taunting him because of the color of his skin. In addition the accused bullies face hate crime and battery charges.
Williams has filed a $5 million claim against San Jose State.
The Rev. Jethroe Moore II, head of the local NAACP chapter, was pleased with SJSU’s sanctions but said the students shouldn’t be jailed — the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor hate crime is a year in county jail.
“We understand they are young and just want them to be better human beings, so this becomes a learning experience for them,” Moore told the Mercury News. “If they went to prison, they’d probably come back as skinheads.”
Attorney Eric Geffon, who represents the minor, and others said the incidents were part of broader-based pranks that included others in the dorm, the Mercury News reported. Clamping the bike lock around someone’s neck, for instance, was something the young men saw on Comedy Central, Geffon said.
“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.”
Geffon said his client laughed and the lock was removed, the Mercury News noted.
But in Williams’ case, according to campus police reports, he was told by the suite mates that they had lost the keys, the newspaper added.
More from the Mercury News:
The young men may be involved in the hazing to varying degrees, as their lawyers have suggested. But according to campus police reports and emails between housing officials, the incidents included nicknaming the black student “Three-fifths,” a reference to the way the government, for census purposes, once counted blacks as just a fraction of a person. When he protested, they dubbed him “Fraction.”
Williams’ father, who is a theater professor at UC Santa Cruz, and his mother reported their son’s ordeal to campus police via housing officials after they noticed a Confederate flag draped over a cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley in the living room of the suite and a dry-erase board with the “N-word” scrawled on it.
The university has created a web page dedicated to the hate crimes, called “Toward a More Welcoming Community.”