The University at Albany (SUNY-Albany) has expelled two black students and suspended a third after they were hit with charges related to a fake hate crime they reported earlier this year.
Ariel Agudio, Asha Burwell and Alexis Briggs grabbed national headlines in January after they claimed they were assaulted by a mob of white students while riding on a public bus.
“I just got jumped on a bus while people hit us and called us the ‘n’ word,’ and NO ONE helped us.” Burwell declared on Twitter that evening. “I begged for people to help us and instead of help they told us to ‘shut he f*ck up’ and continuously hit us in the head.”
The reaction was spectacular. Hundreds joined demonstrations on SUNY-Albany’s campus, Burwell’s brother (a player for the San Diego Chargers) threatened a student who was allegedly involved, and the three even received a supportive tweet from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
But once police got involved, the three girls’ story rapidly unraveled. No fewer than 12 different cameras captured footage of the fight, and they revealed the bus incident actually involved the three girls attacking white passengers on the bus, rather than the other way around.
On May 2, the three girls were hit with a variety of charges, including assault and falsely reporting an incident. The charges were only filed after all three girls rejected offers for a plea bargain that would have involved making a public apology.
Now, the girls have been kicked out of school, too.
According to the Albany Times Union, Agudio and Burwell have been expelled outright while Briggs has been hit with a two-year suspension. The decision to kick the girls out was reached after the conclusion of student conduct proceedings in late April. During a hearing on the matter, SUNY-Albany police officer Paul Burlingame testified that there was no evidence supporting the girls’ hate crime allegations. He said the false allegations had initially prevented victims from reporting their assault, and had caused at least two students to leave SUNY-Albany.
Burwell’s lawyer has disputed his client’s expulsion, arguing Burlingame’s testimony was filled with “Trumpisms.”
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