Three black women who attend SUNY Albany claim that a group of white people physically assaulted them and screamed racial slurs during a bus ride to campus.
According to the women and police reports, the alleged harassment happened early Saturday on a CTDA bus and involved 10 to 12 white men and women. The incident reportedly began with a heated encounter that turned physically hostile once the bus got to SUNY campus.
The students allege that the group of white riders yelled slurs, kicked and punched them. Police reportedly have cell phone video of the exchange, as well as footage captured by the Capital District Transportation Authority.
Campus police said Monday that 34 people of interest were identified by video. Police identified 29 and interviewed 16.
The allegations of the use of racial slurs are being taken “very seriously,” said Steven Smith, spokesman for the Albany police department, which is coordinating efforts with university police in the ongoing investigation.
Students on campus showed support for the women in a gathering on Monday where one of the women, Asha Burwell, told the crowd: “As black women, we are shocked, upset, but we will remain unbroken.”
The university’s president Robert J. Jones also said in a statement that there was “no place in the UAlbany community for violence, no place for racial intolerance and no place for gender violence.” He added, “I call upon all members of the University at Albany to unite. We must show the world that we stand for inclusiveness and stand against bias, violence and hatred.”
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Image via WTEN screengrab