By: Cody Boteler, Editor-in-Chief
A reported verbal assault and harassment that some believed happened as a direct result of the presidential election was inaccurate, and actually referred to an entirely unrelated incident that occurred in April, Towson University officials announced Wednesday.
Last week, shortly after Election Day, a Towson student posted on social media that she had learned of an incident where “two black boys” by “a few white guys” and repeatedly called a racial slur and otherwise harassed.
The student implied in her post that the situation may have had to do with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, and gained a lot of traction on social media when Shaun King, a justice reporter for the New York Post, tweeted about the incident.
A joint investigation from the Towson University Police Department and the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity found that the incident reported on social media was actually referring to an incident from April, in which “two TU students were approached by a non-TU affiliate as they walked back to campus,” according to the campus-wide email sent out at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The original incident, reported April 21, 2016, according to police records, was classified as a second-degree assault and as a bias incident. According to police records, obtained by The Towerlight through Maryland’s Public Information Act, the original incident happened as follows:
- Two Towson students were walking back toward campus after visiting a Domino’s Pizza on York Road, where they witnessed a non-affiliate white male who was “stumbling and nearly walking into the street into the middle of traffic.”
- After the suspect fell, the two students continued walking and eventually passed them. Once in front of the non-affiliate, he began shouting, “Hey, [redacted] you bitch ass nigga.”
- The students crossed the street toward Prettyman and Scarborough halls. The non-affiliate followed and “fell face first into the street” and continued following the students.
- When the two students were in front of Prettyman, the non-affiliate “charged at” them. One of the students stood in front of the other and stopped the non-affiliate, asking him to, “walk the other way and to leave us [(redacted)] alone.”
- At that point, the non-affiliate indicated he was trying to talk to the student who did not speak to him, again calling him a slur. The student who spoke told the non-affiliate to go “back home or back to a bar.”
- The two students continued walking through campus and the non-affiliate again called one of the students a “bitch ass nigga.” The non-affiliate stopped following the students “after having difficulty walking up the hill between Newell Dining Hall and Linthicum Hall.”
The police report indicates that officers were able to validate that the students were followed, though the cameras were not oriented the correct way to confirm the confrontation that the students described.
The two students told police they would file charges, but court records do not indicate that they ever did. Ray Feldmann, a spokesman for TU, said that TUPD couldn’t charge the non-affiliate with anything because officers did not directly witness any criminal activity.
The non-affiliate was issued a full denial of access, barring him from the Towson University campus.