The University of Albany expelled two students and suspended a third for two years following their indictment for lying about an incident on a municipal bus where the women alleged a hate crime against them had been committed.
Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell have been dismissed from the university and Alexis Briggs has been suspended for two years, according to an email sent to the school community Thursday by President Robert J. Jones, the Albany Times Union reported.
The women grabbed national headlines — and a sympathetic tweet from Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton — after claiming that a group of 12 to 20 white men hurled racial slurs and attacked them on a CDTA bus about 1 a.m. Jan. 30 while others stood by and did nothing.
The alleged incident sparked a large on-campus rally defending women of color and the social media campaign #DefendBlackGirlsUAlbany.
Police now say there is no evidence to back up their story and that the women were the actual aggressors, according to footage captured by cameras on the bus and by witnesses. The actual victim, police said, was a 19-year-old white woman who was also a bus passenger.
The three women were indicted this week by a grand jury and arraigned for 10 misdemeanor charges, including assault, attempted assault and false reporting, along with a violation for harassment, the Times Union reported. They have pleaded not guilty.
The three didn’t show up for their student conduct board hearing March 9, because their lawyers cited a conflict of interest in which UAlbany served as judge in the board hearings and witness in the criminal case, the Times Union reported.
Inspector Paul Burlingame of the University Police Department, a witness who testified at the hearing, said the real victims of the assault stayed mum during the media storm because they feared for their safety.
“One of the female victims,” Mr. Burlingame said, “withdrew out of concern for her physical safety.”
This story falls under the title “World’s Dumbest Hate Crime Hoaxers.” Rule #1 in faking a hate crime: Make sure there isn’t any video that can contradict your story.
In this case, the bus video clearly showed the women as the aggressors and the victims, terrified for their personal safety, have gone silent. Meanwhile, no apology has been issued by the school and certainly no regrets have been expressed by the Clinton campaign for lending support to this hoax.
In the world of aggressive racialists who see racism and hate under every bed and in every closet, there is no such thing as a “hoax” so there’s no reason to apologize or even acknowledge the mistake. A real racist incident – real or perceived – will come along shortly and we can start the whole tiresome process over again.