Michael Martinez, CNN, November 21, 2013
Three San Jose State University students in California have been charged with racially bullying their black roommate by clamping a bicycle lock around his neck and decorating their four-bedroom suite with a Confederate flag, Nazi symbols, photos of Adolf Hitler and a white board with a racial epithet, prosecutors said Thursday.
The three students–Logan Beaschler, 18, of Bakersfield; Joseph Bomgardner, 19, of Clovis; and Colin Warren, 18, of Woodacre–are charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery, the Santa Clara district attorney’s office said.
Beaschler was booked in the Santa Clara County Jail on Thursday, with bail set at $15,000.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of one year in county jail if convicted, prosecutors said.
The 17-year-old roommate who was the alleged victim wasn’t named by prosecutors. He suffered a minor injury when he fought off the bike lock around his neck, prosecutors said.
The defendants are accused of nicknaming their black roommate “Three-Fifths,” an apparent reference to a U.S. constitutional provision that counted slaves as “three-fifths of all other persons,” prosecutors said.
When the African-American student objected to that name, the three roommates in the campus housing began calling him “Fraction,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The alleged harassment began in August and lasted through October, prosecutors said.
San Jose State’s president, Mohammad Qayoumi, said in a letter to the student body Thursday that the three students have been suspended.
“Let me be clear: 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,” Qayoumi’s letter said.