While on a campus tour of Colorado State University, two prospective students didn’t get the experience they were hoping for while visiting the school. The mother of a fellow prospective student – also on the tour – called the police on the young men, who are Native American.
Why? Because their presence on the tour made her feel “sick,” according to a transcript of the call. Many people are calling it out as another example of racial profiling.
The two boys, Thomas Kanewakeron Gray and his brother Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, saved their own money to borrow their mom’s car and drive seven hours from New Mexico to Colorado to visit Colorado State University. “This was their dream school, and I wanted to give them that opportunity,” the mother, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, told KOAT and KRQE. When they arrived to the tour, it had already begun.
Both Thomas and Lloyd were pulled from the tour after the woman’s call. Below are parts of the actual transcript of the call.
WOMAN: Hi … I am with my son doing a campus tour … There are two young men that joined our tour that weren’t a part of our tour. They’re not, definitely not a part of the tour. And their behavior is just really odd, and I’ve never called, ever, about anybody, but they joined our tour. They won’t give their names and when I asked them what they were wanting to study, like everything they’re saying isn’t … they were lying the whole time. And they’re just wearing like very … they just really stand out. … Like their clothing has dark stuff on it, like dark things.
The caller admits she is probably “paranoid” and that they’re most likely just “creepy kids.” The campus dispatch officer taking the call assures the woman it was alright to call.
WOMAN: If it’s nothing, I’m sorry, but they, it actually made me feel, like, sick, and I’ve never felt like that.
DISPATCH: Are they white males?
WOMAN: I think they’re Hispanic, I believe. One of them for sure. He said he’s from Mexico. When I asked what they were wanting to study I could tell they were making stuff up because one of them started to laugh about it. One is heavier. One is probably 5-7 and, you know, thinner, I don’t know maybe 130-40 pounds.
After being pulled from the tour by campus police – only to have their right to be part of the tour verified – the group went on without them, and they missed the tour. So they drove all the way back home.
“I was concerned for my sons’ safety and advised them to return home immediately,” Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray says. “Our family is shocked and saddened over this incident of racial profiling, and disappointed that the school didn’t take a proactive stand in protecting my boys from being shamed in this hostile way.”
Lorraine took to Facebook to share what her sons went through:
This story comes closely on the heels of a similar story that occurred in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, when two black men were arrested at a Starbucks for absolutely no reason at all – also following an unwarranted call to police.
In a statement issued by the president of CSU, the university apologized and offered to reimburse the Gray family for their expenses and include an all- expenses-paid trip back to the campus for a “VIP tour.”
Dr. Tony Frank’s statement included plans for helping to identify individuals who are part of a campus tour in the future and other ways the school plans to prevent such an issue from ever happening again. “Two young men, through no fault of their own, wound up frightened and humiliated because another campus visitor was concerned about their clothes and overall demeanor, which appears to have simply been shyness,” Dr. Frank writes.
“The very idea that someone - anyone - might ‘look’ like they don’t belong on a CSU Admissions tour is anathema. People of all races, gender identities, orientations, cultures, religions, heritages, and appearances belong here.”