Two Students Face Criminal Charges for Saying the N-Word to No One in Particular
Two University of Connecticut students are facing criminal charges for allegedly yelling a racial epithet.
On Oct. 11, three students were walking across a parking lot. They were amusing themselves by shouting vulgar words, The New York Times reported.
As the students neared a student housing complex, two of the three decided to yell the N-word, and they were recorded by a student inside.
The video made the rounds of social media and was seen by the campus police, who charged Jarred Karal and Ryan Mucaj, both 21, with violating a Connecticut hate crime law that punishes ridicule based upon creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race.
The charge can result in a fine of up to $500 or 30 days in jail or both, The Washington Post reported.
Stephanie Reitz, a college spokeswoman, said the two students are also being investigated for possible violations of the student code of conduct, which could result in their being expelled.
BREAKING — #UConn PD identifies both men arrested in connection with last week’s racial slur video. 21 year olds Jarred Karral & Ryan Mucaj are set to face a judge on October 30th after allegedly shouting the N-word throughout a campus parking lot @WTNH — more at 10 and 11. pic.twitter.com/HNWTy1Etem
— Shaynah Ferreira (@ShaynahFerreira) October 22, 2019
Since the video went viral, some are portraying the Storrs, Connecticut, campus as a seething hotbed of racism.
“It impacts the very essence of our campus culture, and directly impacts many of our marginalized groups,” Tiyah Thompson, assistant treasurer of UConn’s NAACP chapter, said, according to the Wilton Bulletin. “Eliminating all hate speech throughout our academic environment, inside and outside the classroom, throughout residence halls, and anywhere else for that matter, will require effort from all community members.”
In a letter to the college newspaper, the Daily Campus, the NAACP said another incident of racism took place at a fraternity party when fraternity members used a racial slur in talking to a female student.
“If the university does not adequately address and handle these occurrences of racism appropriately, it will create a culture in which racism is tolerated and normalized,” the NAACP letter said. “We demand for your full assurance that you will take appropriate measures to hold the students involved in these heinous acts of racism accountable.”
The NAACP made a list of demands, including a new code of conduct on racism and hate speech, a mandatory course on diversity, and the hiring of more black administrators, faculty, staff and police officers.
“I feel uncomfortable and scared on this campus at this point,” student Areon Mangan said, according to WTNH-TV. “We want change. This is not fair to us. It’s disrespectful and it’s just not OK.”
UConn President Thomas C. Katsouleas condemned the incident as “deplorable and antithetical to the values of our community and the university as a whole.”
The arrests caused a buzz on Twitter, with some questioning the constitutionality of the Connecticut ridicule statute and others condemning university officials.
Two college students have been criminally charged with the crime of “ridicule” for saying a racial slur. The First Amendment effectively no longer exists. If your speech gives someone a bad case of the sads, you can go to jail. https://t.co/hYo1da0CFJ
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) October 22, 2019
African American students and supporters at @UConn rally against #racism, citing an Oct. 11 incident outside the Charter Oak Apts. They are criticizing the school administration for what they call a lack of response. @WTIC1080 is told @PrezTomKat will speak about this later. pic.twitter.com/GLdmi7TpeM
— Dave Mager (@MagerLeagueNews) October 21, 2019
Crystal clear 1A violation. https://t.co/WBFggZBe82
— Mo Mo (@molratty) October 22, 2019
I’m sorry and embarrassed for the university and frankly yourself that I have to ask this but please do the bare minimum and acknowledge the racism within the student body and the tolerance of racism within the #UConn administration. Black students safety are at risk.
— Adrinah (@Adrinah9) October 17, 2019
Oh, please. Students arrested for using racial epithets. Even a law student sponsored by the ACLU could get them exonerated. The answer to bad speech is more/better speech. This is not a complicated idea in a country w/First Amendment speech protections. https://t.co/eSJ5mTnPpB
— John Ettorre (@workinwithwords) October 22, 2019
Uconn has always been a racist school to me…i pray for my ppl as they run there to make them look good in sports because they dont care about us just want to win
— Jam Jamaican (@MarkLew1975) October 22, 2019
This is not a crime. Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. Unless you convince the Supreme Court of it.
— Lanetta C. Hillstead (@lcheweeee) October 22, 2019
A professor was among those criticizing the university’s response.
“I have been a professor here for almost three decades and once again I find myself pleading with an apparently uncaring university administration to deal with the university’s not so little white racism problem,” sociology professor Noël A. Cazenave wrote in a letter to the editor in the Daily Campus.
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