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Former students not guilty

A jury deliberated about eight hours before finding former students Nate Snow and Brad Allen not guilty of criminal mischief and criminal trespassing in the posting of racist and homophobic fliers the evening of Oct. 30 in Miami’s Center for Black Culture and Learning.

The incident sparked a Nov. 10 protest against racism by about 100 students that closed U.S. 27 and Ohio 73. Allen participated in the protest and Snow, then president of the Black Student Action Association, met with Miami President James C. Garland to discuss the racial climate here.

"We are disappointed that the two defendants decried this incident as a hateful crime in October but portrayed it as free speech in the trial. But we were more disappointed that their attorneys tried to implicate Syd Carthell (director of the CBCL) during this trial. It was a shameful and uncalled-for tactic," said Richard Little, senior director of university communications.

The defense’s "cynical" argument that the anonymous posting of racist and homophobic messages in the Center for Black Culture and Learning is protected by freedom of speech will not deter Miami from taking action in future such cases, he said.

"We will not allow our campus to become a haven for anyone who commits crimes and disrupts our campus and frightens our students," Little said.

Both students dropped out of school last spring after university officials confronted them with the evidence against them, which included their fingerprints on the fliers.

If they reapply, they will be treated like any other student. Any pending judicial action would be subject to review by Miami’s campus judicial office.

"The fact that they have been acquitted in criminal court does not influence any possible campus judicial action in connection with the CBCL incident. Miami’s disciplinary code calls for standards of behavior that are higher than those required by criminal law. For example, last year two Miami students were suspended for sexual assault in separate cases even though a grand jury refused to indict them," Little said.

Little added that the acquittal is not going to impede the progress Miami is making on diversifying the university.

Date Published: 09/10/1999
Volume: 19   Number: 7

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