The campus police of Colorado State University stopped Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, left, and his brother Lloyd Skanahwati Gray after a parent became “nervous,” the school said.Creditvia Associated Press
A pair of Native American brothers who had traveled seven hours to tour Colorado State University this week had their visit cut short after a parent on their tour reported them to the campus police.
The parent, a mother, became suspicious after they joined the tour in progress, telling a 911 dispatcher that their behavior and clothing stood out, according to audio from the call.
Body camera footage shows two police officers pulling the brothers aside as they descended a set of stairs. There, the officers briefly questioned the brothers, Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17. The officers soon let the pair rejoin the tour, but by then their guide — apparently unaware that the police had been summoned — had moved on, the university said in a statement.
CSU Police Department body cam footage from April 30 Admissions tourVideo by Colorado State University
The teenagers returned to the admissions office and were told that nothing could be done to complete their tour, they said. Frustrated, they embarked on the long trip home to Santa Cruz, N.M.
“We drove seven hours to pretty much get the cops called on us,” Thomas said in an interview on Friday.
In a statement earlier in the week, the university expressed regret over the episode, calling it “sad and frustrating from nearly every angle.” On Friday, it released the 911 audio, body camera footage and a lengthy statement from Dr. Tony Frank, the university’s president.
“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,” he said. “The very idea that someone — anyone — might ‘look’ like they don’t belong on a C.S.U. admissions tour is anathema.”
In the statement, Dr. Frank wrote of his own privilege as “a white man in a position of authority” and spoke of a “battle with hate within our communities,” referring to several recent episodes at the university, in Fort Collins, Colo.
This year, Colorado State University has reported finding multiple examples of racist graffiti and signs or fliers linked to extremist hate groups around campus. Last summer, a paper noose was found hanging in a residence hall.
In the statement, Dr. Frank said the school was trying to reach the brothers to reimburse them and offer to bring them back as V.I.P. guests. The school also needed to undertake broader changes aimed at inclusivity, he said.
What the Gray brothers experienced is not uncommon for many minorities, who report finding their very presence in some situations wrongly interpreted as a threat. Last month, two black men were arrested while waiting for a meeting in a Philadelphia Starbucks, sparking widespread criticism of the coffee chain and the city police.
During the 911 call on Monday, the woman who called said the brothers were “definitely not” a part of the tour, describing their behavior as “odd” and their clothing as bearing “dark stuff.” She accused them of lying by not giving their names or honestly answering when she asked what they wanted to study.
Later, she appeared to express some doubt, saying that “it’s probably nothing” and that she felt “ridiculous.” But she could not shake her suspicion, she said.
“If it’s nothing, I’m sorry, but it actually made me like feel sick and I’ve never felt like that,” she said.
The shirt Thomas was wearing on the tour had an image for Cattle Decapitation, a death metal band that opposes animal cruelty, he said. Lloyd’s shirt featured the symbol of another death metal band, Archspire.
The brothers, who belong to the Mohawk tribe, moved to New Mexico from New York about a decade ago and were excited to check out the school because of its proximity to Colorado’s capital city, Thomas said.
“My main choice was Denver because of the music culture there,” he said, adding that he hopes to get a doctorate in music to start his own school and become a music therapist. Lloyd, he said, plans to be a visual arts major.
The family has not decided whether to take the university up on its offer of a return trip and he has not decided whether to apply to Colorado State, Thomas said.
“I don’t want to let one person’s selfish or jerky ways get in my way for what I want to do with my life,” he said.
On Friday, the brothers’ mother, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, described her reaction to what had happened when they called her from campus.
“My immediate thought was they’re being profiled because they’re different,” she said on “Native America Calling,” a live call-in show. “They’re not safe there.”
Even before the trip began, Ms. Gray was nervous, as it was the farthest her sons had traveled alone. She said, however, that she was relieved once they sent her a photo of themselves on the tour.
“My thinking was, ‘Boy, now they’re safe,’” she said. “And boy, was I wrong about
Native Eagle Feather Teachings By Adrian LaChance- YouTube
We moved to SD and my daughters went to a Rez school, they were the only white kids.. they were treated well and ran track.. going to track meets was very enlightening.. when the Native Track teams came onto the field, everyone just stopped and glared, prejudice is alive and well in midwestern states.. to a degree you can't imagine
Will Tea Party Hand The Liberals Their Ass On Election Day?
It was this week two years ago that Hillary Clinton’s victory looked assured, when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault appeared all but certain to end his campaign.
Jesse Ferguson remembers it well. The deputy press secretary for Clinton’s campaign also remembers what happened a month later.
It’s why this veteran Democratic operative can’t shake the feeling that, as promising as the next election looks for his party, it might still all turn out wrong.
“Election Day will either prove to me I have PTSD or show I’ve been living déjà vu,” Ferguson said. “I just don’t know which yet.”
Ferguson is one of many Democrats who felt the string of unexpected defeat in 2016 and are now closely — and nervously — watching the current election near its end, wondering if history will repeat itself. This year, instead of trying to win the presidency, Democrats have placed an onus on trying to gain 23 House seats and win a majority.
The anxiety isn’t universal, with many party leaders professing confidently and repeatedly that this year really is different.
But even some of them acknowledge the similarities between the current and previous election: Trump is unpopular and beset by scandal, Democrats hold leads in the polls, and some Republicans are openly pessimistic.
FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats a 76.9 percent chance of winning the House one month before Election Day. Their odds for Clinton’s victory two years ago? 71.4 percent.
The abundance of optimism brings back queasy memories for Jesse Lehrich, who worked on the Clinton campaign and remembers watching the returns come in from the Javits Center in New York.
“I was getting texts after the result was clear – including even from some political reporters and operatives – texting me, you know, ‘Are you guys starting to get nervous?’ or ‘What’s her most likely path?’” he said. “I was like, ‘What do you mean, starting to get nervous? What path? They just called Wisconsin. We lost.’”
“People were so slow to process that reality because they just hadn’t considered the possibility that Donald Trump was going to be the next president,” he continued.
Lehrich said he sees similarities between 2016 and 2018. But he said he thought Democrats were cognizant of the parallels and determined not to let up a month before the election, as many voters might have two years ago.
Other Democratic leaders aren’t so sure. Asked if he thought his party was overconfident, Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton responded flatly, “Yes.”
Democrats could win a lot of House seats, he said, or could still fall short of capturing a majority.
“The point is that we’ve got to realize that this not just some unstoppable blue wave but rather a lot of tough races that will be hard-fought victories,” Moulton said.
If Democrats are universally nervous about anything after 2016, it’s polling. The polls weren’t actually as favorable to Clinton and the Democrats as some remember, something 538’s Nate Silver and some other journalists pointed out at the time.
But Clinton’s decision not to campaign in a state she’d lose, Wisconsin, and the failure of pollsters everywhere to miss a wave of Trump supporters in red areas are mistakes Democrats are still grappling with today.
“Clearly last cycle, polling was off,” Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told reporters last month. “There were a lot of predictions that were made last cycle that didn’t come to fruition.”
Lujan emphasized in particular how pollsters missed the rural vote, calling it a “devastating mistake.” He said the DCCC has taken deliberate steps since 2016 to get it right this time around, but underscored a congressional majority still required a tooth-and-nail fight.
“So I’m confident with the team that’s been assembled, but I’m definitely cognizant of the fact we need to understand these models and understand the data for what it is,” he said.
One Democratic pollster said the data he’s seen makes plain that the party is favored to win a majority — but that it’s still not a sure thing. He said even now it’s unclear if the political environment will create an electoral tsunami, or merely a good year where Democrats might still fall short of a House majority.
“We’ve all learned a lesson from 2016 that there are multiple possibilities and outcomes,” said the pollster, granted anonymity to discuss polling data one month before the election. “And if you haven’t learned that lesson, shame on you. That 20 percent outcome can happen. That 30 percent outcome can happen.”
This year, Democrats have history on their side: The incumbent president’s party historically struggles during midterm elections. That wasn’t the case in 2016, when Democrats were trying to win the presidency for three consecutive terms for the first time in their history since Franklin Delano Roosevelt (The GOP accomplished the feat only once in the same period, with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.)
Some Democratic leaders say the reality of Trump’s presidency — unlike its hypothetical state in 2016 — changes the dynamic entirely.
“Democratic energy is at nuclear levels,” said Steve Israel, a former DCCC chairman. “Democrats would crawl over broken glass to vote in this election.”
Israel said he still has concerns about November (political operatives always have concerns about the upcoming election). But he waves away the notion that the party might fall short of a House majority.
“Most Democrats and a heck of a lot of Republicans I speak to believe that Democrats will have the majority,” he said. “The real question is, by how much?”
Ferguson is, of course, of two minds: He thinks the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the day-to-day reality of Trump’s presidency fundamentally changes how voters will see this election.
But he’s also gun-shy about what could change in the next month, after the multitude of surprises that occurred during the last month of the 2016 race, whether the “Access Hollywood” recording or then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the investigation into Clinton’s emails was re-opened.
Many Republicans argue the 2018 election has already seen its October surprise, with the confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh finally motivating conservative voters to vote.
“I don’t know what the October surprises will be,” Ferguson said. “But we make a mistake if we assume that what we’re seeing today is what we’ll see for the entire month. We lived through it two years ago.”