Two Canisius College students involved in a racially-charged incident on campus in November, when photos of a black doll hanging from a dorm room curtain rod were posted on social media, have left the college as a result of disciplinary proceedings, the college announced Monday.
The college would not say if it expelled the students.
The college punished several other students with lesser sanctions for participating in election-night provocations involving a black doll that had been left behind by a young visitor in a campus dormitory laundry room. The incidents sparked outrage among students and faculty and led to a campus investigation.
President John J. Hurley sent an email on Monday to students, staff and faculty with an update on the college’s handling of the incidents on Nov. 8, when students who discovered the doll moved it into a dorm room elevator as a prank to startle people. Later on, the doll was hung from a curtain rod in a dorm room, and photographs were posted on social media with language about “Trump fans.”
In his update, Hurley also said an outside evaluator concluded that the college’s public safety department investigated the case in a professional, thorough and complete manner. The college hired a retired federal prosecutor to review the investigation. The former prosecutor found that the student conduct did not rise to the level of a violation of federal or state hate crime laws, and it wasn’t necessary for the college to refer the matter to law enforcement agencies, Hurley said.
Hurley also announced that the college started a bias incident reporting hotline and will form a steering committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni to help start a campus-wide conversation on race.
“We now continue the challenging task of creating a culture at Canisius College that will make incidents like this simply unthinkable in the future,” said Hurley.
The events at Canisius were among more than two dozen racially-charged or hate-related incidents at colleges and universities nationwide following the election of Donald J. Trump as president. Just before Thanksgiving, Daemen College in Amherst suspended two students indefinitely after one of the students wore a costume depicting a member of the Ku Klux Klan and knocked on the door of another student.
A male student who wore the costume and a student who helped dress him were placed on “interim suspension” and were forced to leave the campus immediately until a formal judicial hearing to determine their ultimate penalties. A college spokeswoman said Monday that the college had not yet completed its disciplinary process in the case.